Nearly 30 percent of Washoe households are "asset poor"

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Nearly 30 percent of Washoe households are "asset poor"

About thirty precent of households in Washoe County are asset poor, meaning they don't have enough net worth to survive at the poverty level for three months if they were to lose their source of income.

That figure comes from a study released Friday by the Financial Stability Partnership of Northern Nevada.

The rate for minorities in Washoe County is even more dire as half of all Hispanic and African American households are asset poor.

"Assets are really that financial cushion that families can rely on in a the case of an emergency. Let's say someone would lose their job or there's a medical emergency and they didn't have that income coming in anymore. How long could they survive?"

That's Kasey Wiedrich with the Corporation for Enterprise Development, a national nonprofit that conducted the study. She says high rates of asset poverty have long-term effects as well.

"It shows people aren't really able to save for their retirement, save to send their kids to college, so it really is about both meeting their needs today but also looking towards the future."

The Financial Stability Partnership of Northern Nevada is involved with several initiatives to address financial insecurity in the region. One facilitates lending circles, which are informal group loans between family and friends that are not tied to a financial institution.

Another effort is the Nevada College Kick Start Program, which provides $50 college savings accounts for 3,500 rural elementary school students throughout the state.