LISC Helps Families Find Stability Through Financial Opportunity Centers
In 2014, Pamela came to one of the Financial Opportunity Centers® (FOC) in LISC's FOC network in hopes of finding a job. She had been out of work and helping out with her sick mother. Pamela took advantage of career coaching, financial coaching, and wraparound support services offered by the FOC. After obtaining her Certified Nursing Assistant certification, Pamela is now a full time Patient Care Assistant a local hospital and more confident in her future career pathway. Every day FOCs help low-income individuals and families like Pamela reach financial stability and move up the economic ladder.
FOCs offer an innovative framework to help families increase their earnings and income ("Earn It"), reduce financial transaction costs ("Keep It"), and build wealth for themselves and their communities ("Grow It"). Families are the building blocks of Sustainable Communities and LISC's Financial Opportunity Centers have been a critical program in supporting a comprehensive community development approach. In 2010, Houston LISC launched its first two FOCs and that number has tripled over the past four years to a total of six centers. Houston LISC and all of our local FOCs are part of the United Way THRIVE collaboration.
Over the past six years, LISC's network of FOCs have placed more than 2200 clients like Pamela into jobs, and helped nearly 2700 people increase their credit scores and almost 2800 people increase their net income. Houston LISC's recent evaluation shows that for every dollar spent in the program, there has been a $10 return on investment.
Last year, National LISC announced an $11.3 million Social Innovation Fund (SIF) grant from the Corporation of National Community Services to support new initiatives within our Financial Opportunity Centers® (FOC). Through the SIF grant, LISC has awarded funding to the new Bridges to Career Opportunities initiative at the Alliance for Multicultural Community Services, Chinese Community Center, SER Jobs for Progress, and Wesley Community Center, in Gulfton, Alief, Magnolia Park, and the Near Northside neighborhoods respectively.
Coaches at the organizations will teach core academic skills like math, reading, and English as a second language in combination with "soft skills" like interviewing, teamwork and conflict resolution-all contextualized to specific industries or sectors. LISC developed the skills program and began piloting it last year through FOCs like Wesley Community Center.
There are now 80 LISC FOCs across the country providing integrated services and long-term financial coaching that help low-income families expand their income, credit, savings and job opportunities. In Houston, we are excited that LISC's $688,790 grant investment will continue to support individuals like Pamela reach financial stability and economic security.
For more information, contact VanNhi Nguyen, Houston LISC Program Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 713-597-6835.