These Charts Reveal the How and Why of Including Financial Services in Housing Programs
Housing organizations have always offered their clients a wide variety of services such as pre-purchase counseling, foreclosure counseling and information on the homebuying process. But over time, many organizations have realized that clients often need additional support around financial issues like credit building, savings and budgeting. Prosperity Now is excited to release our new infographic that highlights how and why housing organizations are offering financial coaching and counseling; credit building and repair; free tax preparation and more.
The infographic represents data from over 60 housing organizations that responded to a survey in the fall of 2017. The data show that organizations are offering a wide variety of services to better meet their clients’ needs. Yet many organizations implement services based on assumptions about what clients need rather than in response to residents’ expressed interest. This creates one of the biggest challenges organizations face: residents don’t participate in programs. Focus groups, surveys and interviews can go a long way to uncover what residents really need and increase program uptake.
Over the past several months, we have shared stories of housing organizations going traditional housing services to better meet the needs of their clients. We learned about a housing organization in Baltimore that provides underbanked and unbanked clients prepaid cards as well as access to direct deposit, help avoid unnecessary fees and allow clients to pay bills online. We met Rochelle, a single mother of two girls living in HUD-assisted housing and using the powerful family self-sufficiency program to build assets and start a 529 college savings account for her children, reduce her debt and save almost $5,000 in her savings account. We heard from Ms. Robinson, a client of New York City’s Ready to Rent Program, in which she worked directly with a financial counselor to successfully apply for affordable housing through a plan to consolidate student loans, and raise her credit score.
Taken together, the infographic and stories of successful clients meeting their financial goals help build awareness of the possibilities and challenges of integrating additional financial services with affordable housing programs. Not only does this offer clients more comprehensive services, but housing providers and financial capability organizations are also beginning to innovate on how to better serve low-to moderate-income families. Prosperity Now looks forward to continuing this important work. We will explore housing and financial capability further at one of our panels during this year’s Prosperity Summit.
Explore the infographic here.