What We've Learned About Providing Financial Services with Affordable Housing

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second entry in a series of blog posts published by Prosperity Now’s Affordable Housing team about the role of financial capability in affordable housing services to help more low- and moderate-income householdswith an emphasis on those of colorachieve financial security, wealth and prosperity. Our first post looked at a promising program to boost economic opportunity for families living in publicly-assisted housing. The following post was provided by the UNC Center for Community Capital, which conducts relevant and timely research to expand the conversation around affordable housing, financial inclusion and economic mobility. 

Affordable housing providers around the country are becoming more than just landlords. They are increasingly taking a holistic approach to address the multiple and complex financial needs of their residents. One strategy is to integrate financial capability services into existing programs. This can run the gamut from intensive homeownership preparation to referrals for financial products and a variety of services in-between.

With funding from JPMorgan Chase & Co., the UNC Center for Community Capital (CCC) recently published a report highlighting the work of some of these organizations. Building a Strong Foundation: Integrating Financial Capability & Affordable Housing spotlights innovative examples of how housing and financial capability services can be integrated with each other, the range of financial capability services provided and how outcomes are being measured and evaluated. 

The report shows that when it comes to integrating financial capability services, some housing organizations are just dipping their toes in the water and others are swimming laps. But however deep into the water they’ve ventured, there are lessons to learn about the types of services offered and the various approaches to integrate services.

In partnership with Prosperity Now, CCC co-hosted a convening of housing providers to share ideas and strategies for integrating financial capability into other services. Housing organization staff, researchers and funders from across the country came together to share findings and data, offer guidance and strategize to build capacity and scale these efforts to serve clients.

Later this Spring, CCC will publish a second report with detailed findings from their partnership with three organizations: CHN Housing Partners, The Resurrection Project, and a collaborative in New York City that includes the New York City Housing Authority, the Department of Consumer Affairs Office of Financial Empowerment and Urban Upbound. The report documents the design, implementation and initial evaluation of resident outcomes from the innovative programming efforts of these organizations. The report will share lessons for devising effective outreach strategies (such as going door-to-door to spark interest in the program), the importance of messaging and partnerships, and how variation in interaction methods with residents can lead to positive financial actions. 

Join the Affordable Homeownership Network to learn more about financial services integration and the work Prosperity Now is doing to make homeownership affordable for all.

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