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September 2017 Newsletter

RAISE Texas News

Our Field is Crucial in the Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey

It has been heartbreaking to watch the destruction of parts of our state as Hurricane Harvey ravaged areas filling it with 9 trillion gallons of water and leaving many fellow Texans to evacuate to stay alive. Streets are still flooded. Whole towns are devastated. Shelters are still filled with neighbors and friends who have lost everything. And, in some parts of Texas it is still raining. We are in a state of shock and many organizations and individuals from all over Texas and other states are providing relief efforts and aid to those displaced. But now that Harvey is headed east and out of the great state of Texas, we must be ready to help with the coming steps of restoration and rebuilding. As families and organizations survey the damage and loss, the asset building field will be critical to help families rebuild their lives. Finding employment or new housing, putting together a budget to get through the tough times, and planning for the future are going to be vital in the rebuilding process. Financial coaches can mentor and encourage families as they rebuild physically, emotionally and financially. Consumer-friendly small dollar loan products can help employees and families meet current short-term needs. The impact of Harvey is great, but the spirit of our community is greater. Let’s reach out and help families rebuild and continue to build their financial stability no matter what circumstances they are in. Thank you for your great work here in Texas. Let us now work together to RAISE Texas!

LAST CHANCE to Reserve Your Spot Today for the Rio Grande Valley Regional Convening
Tomorrow, September 1, is the last day to register for the Rio Grande Valley Regional Convening. We hope you can join us in Brownsville, Texas, on September 12 & 13, 2017, for the Rio Grande Valley Convening and site visits focused on highlighting and scaling innovative solutions to increase household financial security, economic mobility, workplace financial well-being and intergenerational wealth creation. Registration is FREE but space is limited. Click here to register today to ensure your place for the convening and/or site visits.

Texas News

Final Deadline Approaching for TFEE Funding Applications

The Texas Financial Education Endowment (TFEE) is accepting applications for the 2018-2019 grant cycle. Applications will be accepted until September 25, 2017. TFEE will be having an informational webinar for potential applicants on September 7th at 2:30pm CT. The grant program funds consumer credit building activities and programs for youth and adults throughout the state to promote and support financial capability, education and responsibility of Texans. Selected grantees will be announced in early November 2017 and grant awards may range from $5,000 to $40,000 contingent upon funds approved by the Texas Finance Commission. For more information on this grant program, click here.

City of Austin Selected for Consumer Financial Protection Initiative
Congratulations to the City of Austin for being one of five cities selected to be part of the Consumer Financial Protection Initiative. The five city governments chosen are: Austin, TX; Boston, MA; Denver, CO; Nashville, TN; and Salt Lake City, UT. The CFE Fund and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are working with these cities to build local consumer financial protection departments.

National News and Resources

CFPB Accepting Applications for Tax Time Savings Cohort- SEPTEMBER 8 DEADLINE

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced an opportunity to join the CFPB Tax Time Savings Initiative 2018 cohort. CFPB will provide approximately 75 VITA programs across the country with educational materials, training and technical assistance to promote saving during the 2018 tax season. If your VITA program is committed to promoting savings this upcoming tax season, apply now. Applications are due September 8, 2017! Click here to learn more about the initiative.

The CFPB also released a report on practices tax assistance providers can use to help people save when filing their taxes. Click here to read the report.

Funding Opportunity from Google to Prepare People for the Changing Nature of Work

Google recently announced the launch of Google.org initiative to help prepare people for the changing nature of work as explained in the USA Today story. This initiative will give $50 million to organizations in the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia over the next two years to:

  • Support nonprofits coming up with new approaches to training people with the skills they need, connecting job-seekers with positions that match their skills and talents, and supporting workers in low-wage employment.
  • Support researchers who look into the new opportunities and challenges that may arise in the future of work, and at solution spaces available to societies to tackle those challenges.

Google is accepting applications from nonprofits for the next round of grant funding until September 15, 2017. Read their Invitation to Apply. Click here for more information about the initiative. Or, apply today!

CFS’ Training Rubric Can Help You Choose a Financial Coaching Training

Center for Financial Security (CFS) released its “Financial Coaching: Training Rubric,” a guide that provides short description of the key components of financial coaching trainings to help you or your organization determine which training will best fit your needs. Click here to access the guide.

New Policy Report on Statewide Child Development Accounts

Margaret Clancy and Sandy Beverly recently released a new report on Child Development Accounts (CDAs) to provide perspective and inform new initiatives based on descriptions of the existing CDA programs. Four states have created statewide CDAs using state 529 college savings plans: Baby Scholars in Connecticut, the Harold Alfond College Challenge in Maine, College Kick State in Nevada, and CollegeBoundbaby in Rhode Island. The policy report, Statewide Child Development Account Policies: Key Design Elements identifies 10 key policy design elements originally modeled by the SEED for Oklahoma Kids experiment CDA program. Find the entire policy report here.

CFPB Report Available on 2017 Financial Coaching Symposium

In April, the CFPB brought together financial coaching leaders and researchers from across the country to discuss strategies to improve financial coaching services at the 2017 Financial Coaching Symposium. RAISE Texas’ Lauren Gates had the privilege to speak on one of the panels at the event. The CFPB released their report, Financial Coaching: Advancing the Field to Better Serve Consumers, from the event that provides an overview of the conversation, lessons learned and next steps for the field to consider. Click here to access the report.

AFCPE Webinar on the Continuum of Care

AFCPE is hosting a professional development opportunity webinar, Building the Bridge: Working Together to Strengthen the Continuum of Care, on Wednesday, September 27, 2017 from 12:00pm-1:00pm ET. This important webinar will discuss building a more integrated and comprehensive “Continuum of Care”. What does that mean? Why is it important? Register for this free webinar to find out. Click here to register now.

New Report on Children’s Savings Accounts

Heartland Alliance released a new report, Building Brighter Futures: Children’s Savings Accounts in Illinois, showing the impact of universal children’s savings accounts (CSAs). The Illinois 529 college savings program, Bright Start, offers these accounts which are opened at birth and intended to be used towards a post-secondary education. The report found that CSAs support early childhood development, increase college completion rates, strengthen families’ financial capability and have long-term impact on the state’s economy. However, the report also found the following disparities:

  • Black people, Latinos, lower-income families, and women are underrepresented in the Bright Start program.
  • Only 4 percent of Bright Start savers make under $30,000 per year.
  • A CSA program could have a profound effect on the racial wealth gap in Illinois- the gap in assets between white households and households of color. Depending on funding and participation, these accounts could reduce the racial wealth gap for young adults by as much as one-third while raising the wealth levels of all racial groups.

Read the entire report here for the explanation of the findings and for federal and state policy recommendations.

Are You a Financial Coaching Practitioner?

Prosperity Now kicked off their new bi-monthly, peer-led call series on financial coaching topics in August. If you are interested in networking with national practitioners, hearing information on a variety of topics most pressing to the field, and receiving useful tips and resources, register to join the series! The next call will be on October 11. Register now!

TSAHC Blog: Homeownership Rate Declining for Everyone Except Older Americans
In 2009, the U.S. homeownership rate was 71% but has since fallen to 63% with declines spanning the country and almost every age demographic according to a Gallup report. The age demographics show the homeownership rate for Americans age 18-29 declining from 36% to 26%, age 30-49 years dropped from 73% to 63% and for those ages 50-64 it is down from 84% to 77%. The only exception to this trend was an increase in homeownership for Americans age 65 or older from 81% to 82%. The Gallup report gives several reasons for the increase including: older Americans don’t have substantial mortgage payments, some have paid off their house or downsized, and more Americans are postponing retirement and continuing to work. Click here to read the entire blog post about homeownership trends.