Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Helping Families Build, Strengthen, and Preserve Assets

Assets-a car, a home, financial savings, or a retirement fund-are the cornerstone of financial stability for all families. Low-income families in particular require assets to build resources and achieve true self-sufficiency. In the President’s 2011 budget, there are several components that contribute to a renewed focus on family economic success including provisions that help low-income and middle income families increase their retirement savings.

With the aim of building strong financial futures within neighborhoods, our network of sites has worked on establishing a Family Economic Success (FES) approach in communities from White Center, Seattle to Providence, Rhode Island. Using comprehensive strategies and strong partnerships with banks, credit unions, residents, local funders, and community based organizations, our sites’ work has focused on  creating a “pathway." The Asset Pathway builds on the Credit Path developed by the Alternatives Federal Credit Union in the mid-1990s that coordinates opportunities for families to repair credit, get financial education and coaching, use the Earned Income Tax Credit(EITC), and build savings through better access to mainstream banking products. In 2009, Making Connections San Antonio's primary asset building strategies included stabilizing families through the provision of emergency services and providing income support through the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Voluntary Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.

At CSSP, we’ll be tracking and providing technical assistance on the following funding opportunities that support asset building programs and services: the Workforce Investment Act, the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG), the Neighborhood Stabilization Fund, and the New Markets Tax Credit.

We encourage you to check out the following resources:

Making the Most of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009: A Guide for Asset Building Leaders, The Finance Project

Earned Income Tax Credit Platform

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