Building $tability, Retaining Visibility
The project makes systemic changes that foster financial stability among populations that, once homeless, become invisible to communities.
I am not an employee of BNY Mellon, or an immediate family member of a BNY Mellon employee
I am over 18 years of age
My organization is incorporated as a non-profit, for-profit, or hybrid organization, or I have a partner that is incorporated and could accept funds on my behalf
I have already piloted my initiative and have some initial evidence of impact
My organization is headquartered and creating impact in the United States
Where are you making a difference?
Oregon: Bend (97701, 97702, 97703, 97707, 97708, 97709); La Pine (97739); Redmond (97756), Sisters (97759); Prineville (07754); Madras (97741)
Focus Areas (required)
Business & Social Enterprise
Children & Youth
Development & Prosperity
Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.
Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working towards the next level of expansion)
Website or social media URL(s) (optional)
1.Founding Story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this to succeed.
I noticed a woman about my age outside a store in Bend, holding a sign that read, “Anything helps. I have 3 kids and no place to live.” When left the store, I noticed one of her children - a girl not much older than my own son - digging through a trashcan. I could tell this was a new situation for the mother: her skin was not dry from the elements, and she looked directly at me. I often see people pretending NOT to see those experiencing homelessness, as if they are "invisible.” I do not have millions of dollars to solve the problem, nor do I believe that money alone will solve it. But I refuse to pretend that the mother I saw and others like her are invisible. I work to give them skills to avoid eviction, homelessness and hunger.
2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?
A large population of Central Oregonians lives paycheck to paycheck, does not track expenses, and irregularly uses traditional banking products. Most of the persons we serve need assistance beyond emergency intervention to improve their housing and financial prospects. This project responds to an overdue focus on inclusion and equity. We sense a critical timeframe for targeting and expanding opportunities for minority and underserved residents.
3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
The project will present financially-stabilizing resources to traditionally-excluded households that can most benefit from them. Financial education will help minority, marginalized and underserved households make sound financial decisions, withstand financial emergencies and grow assets over time. The goal: foster long-term housing stability by equipping these households with the tools that sustain stable residents. The project will focus on renters at risk of eviction and homeless households that obtain rent subsidies. We will target persons earning at or below 80% AMI, women and people of color. We will introduce budgeting, traditional banking and financial systems, adding a tenant education curriculum. HomeSource Specialists will deliver financial education, coaching and counseling. Participants will learn to plan for rent and utilities, create a budget, reduce debt, build assets and save. Our Housing Stablization program will provide incentives: households that complete HomeSource workshops will receive $750 to remove housing barriers (back rent; utility debt). For households without barriers, Housing Stabilization will apply $750 toward rent, deposits or utility assistance.
4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of how your solution is working to solve the problem.
Valerie graduated in February from our Ready to Rent program. “I was a domestic violence victim so I ended up at the shelter. Before that had happened I had a housing voucher, and my landlord after seven years didn't want us to be there and he was charging me $200 a month for late fees on a garbage bill, even though he was supposed to be paying the garbage. So this class has showed me that he can't do that, and I will be meeting up with an attorney. But since I'm doing this single-person thing for the first time since I was 14 years old, this class has given me one more tool in my box. It's shown me how I can rent things. Even though it was only four days it was a completion of something. This name in itself means something to me. They have Migrant Head Start and I was on Policy Council for La Pine. I went to Salem; I advocated for the kids. And now I'm learning to advocate for Valerie."
5a. Too many people in the U.S. have unmet needs for financial products and services. How is your work reaching a population(s) that is currently underserved? If it is not reaching an underserved population yet, how might it in the near future?
We reach underserved populations by expanding our financial capability services in rural, underserved communities, to include geographically-diverse areas and culturally-diverse communities (farmworkers, Native Americans and Latinos. Referrals will originate from the Latino Community Association of Central Oregon, THRIVE and NeighborImpact’s other programs. We expect that 30% of participants will be women, and 30% will will be people of color. A majority of clients will have housing barriers.
5b. Please specify if the population you are reaching is underserved due to any of the following characteristics:
6. Marketplace: Who else is addressing the same problem? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?
No agency in our region has adopted our service delivery approach toward homelessness. This project’s uniqueness lies in combining financial education and skill building with funds to remove barriers. HomeSource’s financial education and asset-building programs are established; we have expertise; the programs have proven benefits (including to minorities); and our knowledge of the community allows us to offer a variety and depth of financial counseling services that no other organization in Central Oregon provides. We have recognition for our proven success with financial integration efforts.
7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?
Our mission to support people and strengthen communities drives us to expand our financial inclusion and asset-building services to affect real change in clients’ lives. HomeSource's goal for FY 2017-18 is to serve 650 clients; as of May 31, 2018, HomeSource had served 657 persons; 410 were new clients. We report the following, which compares all of FY16-17 to just the first quarter of 2018:
IDA clients who opened new savings accounts: 43 vs. 52
Participants who increased their savings: 173 vs: 159
Participants who purchased homes: 65 vs. 41
Participants who avoided foreclosure: 67 vs. 98
Participants who decreased their debt after individual coaching: 4 vs. 97
Participants who improved their credit scores: 38 vs. 45
Participants who received financial capability appointments: 182 vs. 192
Participants who completed the entire Financial Workshop series: 25 vs. 21
8a. Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling your impact?
Strategies for scaling the project’s impact center on geographic spread to rural areas. Our work in financial education has yielded strategies that we will apply to this project: We promote asset building as a way of life, not as a “program;" reaching residents means stretching our boundaries to meet their needs instead of their meeting ours; we will be present in the areas where residents need us; we will leverage the strengths of partner organizations and trusted community leaders; we will maintain office space where people are. We leverage our strengths and count on partners to use theirs.
8b. If applicable, which of the following scaling strategies have you launched?
Large Scale Partnerships
9. Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?
NeighborImpact solicits some grant funds for HomeSource. We have two grant proposals submitted at this time, to Meyer Memorial Trust and Central Oregon Association of Realtors. We also request grant support from financial institutions, foundations and local businesses. We will solicit continued support from NeighborWorks America, NeighborWorks Umpqua IDA and the Home Ownership Association. We will engage major donors, foundations and corporations to fill gaps, and we will maximize resources.
10. Team: What is the current composition of your team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?
Nine staff, three of them bilingual, have decades of experience with non-profits and hold degrees in social work, government, business and banking. A HUD-designated Housing Counseling Agency, we have the expertise to deliver the highest-quality counseling and financial education. NeighborImpact is part of NeighborWorks America, which that provides training and resources that bolster capacity. We have access to best practices and technical assistance from the nation’s best asset building models.
Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 - Which of the following categories do you identify with? (optional)
White (for example: German, Irish, English, Italian, Polish, French)
Hispanic, Latino/a, or Spanish origin (for example: Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuba, Salvadoran, Dominican, Colombian)
Black or African American (for example: African American, Jamaican, Haitian, Nigerian, Ethiopian, Somalian, etc)
Asian (for example: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Pakistani)
Native American or Alaska Native (for example: Navajo Nation, Blackfeet Tribe, Mayan, Aztec, Native Village of Barrow Inupial Traditional Government, Nome Eskimo Community)
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander (for example: Native Hawaiian, Samoan, Chamorro, Tongan, Fijian, Marshallese)
Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 - Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities? (optional)
Communities of color
How did you hear about this challenge?