The Roadmap to Financial Resilience Initiative
COVID-19 has disrupted lives and financial security. Conditions for low-income residents and families have deteriorated. Financial instability has become even more prevalent in too many of our communities. Service providers report rampant job loss exacerbating pre-COVID-19 barriers faced by the poor and communities of color. Employers have changed the way they conduct business. Educators and community-based organizations have shifted how they connect with students and clients, magnifying digital divides. Students and working adults are seeking upskilling opportunities to join and remain in the workforce. Moreover, emergency savings have been exhausted or were never there to begin with, which could have helped mitigate the impact of this economic shock. This is the reality of too many Texans. And, without an infrastructure of opportunity to prompt them up, their outlook and sense of resiliency is grim.
The Roadmap to Financial Resilience Initiative framework consists of a three-part stability model wrapped in financial coaching. While this initiative is focused on the COVID-19 crisis right now, this model must be applicable for any life events or natural disasters leading to financial crisis. The framework’s design is to work with low-income clients after an initial assessment with a financial coach where they can develop a plan of action and track their current situation along the road to financial resilience. The program is customized to work with clients based on where they are and where they would like to be. The steps include the following:
- Achieving Short Term Financial Stability – Provide a network of financial coaches and/or counselors available in communities to continue offering crisis management to individuals and families still reeling from COVID-19 and additional financial setbacks. Coaches will be available to mentor, assess and refer to applicable resources necessary to stabilize a client’s situation. Coaches will also be available for those clients that are ready to work toward a personal financial goal to start building financial resiliency. Community Partners will work together as necessary on state-level policies related to expanding unemployment compensation, limiting evictions and foreclosures, and helping to ensure access to safety net programs reducing harmful impacts on Texans during a crisis. Coaches will provide information for federal, state and community-based resources to individuals and families to provide support to minimize economic damage and meet any immediate needs. They will also work with the client and connect them to high-quality credit product, programs and services available in the community.
- Achieving Income Stability – Develop community partnerships to connect clients to organizations that provide curriculum, GED trainings, technical trainings, certification trainings and licensures, and job preparation that would include resume assistance, interview preparation, dress, soft skills, etc. Specifically, initiatives that teach our priority population on how to keep more of their income will be heavily encouraged. Expertise will be referred to communities in the following areas, but is not limited to:
- Credit building and repair
- Reducing debt
- VITA and tax time savings (free income tax preparation)
- General financial education
- Financial capability lessons on saving, budgeting and protecting your wealth
- Seeking financial services for the unbanked/underbanked
- Incentivized or matched savings that further income stability or asset purchase
- Small dollar loan alternatives
If you are interested in participating in a learning cohort in your community to design or expand emergency savings accounts to help local residents save for future needs, please let Lauren Gates know at email@example.com.