We are thrilled to announce that Innovative Changes has been selected as the Portland lead local organization for the Assets and Opportunity Network of CFED. Many of you will know CFED for its early leadership in promoting matched savings in the form of individual development accounts, its ground breaking work on the household financial security framework and now the powerful database on household financial security and policy solutions known as the Assets and Opportunity Scorecard. As the lead local organization we will work to keep local organizations engaged, informed and networked to amplify our work on asset building and preservation. If you have events, actions or information you would like posted to the Portland microsite let us know!
This month we are launching our Dreamer Loan, a responsible small dollar loan that will help qualifying immigrants take advantage of the opportunity to file for deferred action so they can stay in the United States without the risk of deportation. In addition to helping people cash flow the filing fee, approved filers are assigned a social security number, so we will be able to retroactively report the borrowers' loan payments to two of the main credit bureaus. We will still work through referring partners, so If you are interested in sending your Dreamer clients to us and you not a referring partner yet, now is a great time to sign up. We will have a webinar orientation about the Dreamer loan on February 25th at 1pm. To register for the webinar go here.
Do you know someone who has been a victim of abusive or deceptive credit collections effort? Unfortunately, many of our clients have experienced it repeatedly. We are always happy to coach someone about their consumer credit rights, and now we are thrilled that our friends at Economic Fairness Oregon are introducing the Consumer Credit Fairness Act in Salem this session. To learn more, sign on and get active go to http://www.economicfairnessoregon.org/the-issues/debt-collection.html.
Did you ever wonder what would happen if financial empowerment strategies were woven into social service delivery? Well a dozen innovative cities across the country, from Seattle to Savannah, do just that. The Cities for Financial Empowerment Coalition promotes best practices in municipal engagement in financial empowerment strategies. To learn more, join us for an information session on Thursday February 21st from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm at Catholic Charities. For more details, check out the meeting evite here.
From February 25th to March 2nd and the sound of coins dropping into piggy banks will ring across the nation as we celebrate America Saves Week. Here at Innovative Changes we will be decorating our office with photos of some of our savers who are posing with signs of what saving means to them. Stop by to check out how beautiful saving can be!
And finally, the Oregon Financial Education Summit is on Thursday March 7th at the Salem Convention Center. This year the afternoon will be dedicated to discussing Bank On strategies for Oregon. We'll learn best practices from San Francisco and Washington State, and discuss how we can work together to help tens of thousands of our residents who are un- and under banked in Oregon. All are welcome! For more information and to register for the summit click here.
All the best,
|Partner-Client Spotlight: Alyssa & Hugo, Verde
Throughout the month of January, on Monday afternoons you could find Emmy on Columbia Boulevard teaching classes de la Stabilidad Econimica (the Spanish version of our Financial Household Resiliency workshops) at Verde. Verde serves communities by building environmental wealth through social enterprise, outreach and advocacy. Verde's services include: a landscape contracting business, Verde Energy which provides weatherization labor and services to contractors, governments, affordable housing providers, CAP agencies, other nonprofit groups, and private property owners, and coming soon, a nursery in Cully Park. The social enterprises operate like regular contractors, but they also put a lot of emphasis on quality training for the crews who are often participants from nearby Native American Youth and Family Services (NAYA) and Hacienda CDC (two of IC$'s partners as well!). Verde's other efforts focus on building environmental justice in and outside of its communitiy and "bridging the green divide."
Alyssa Kocsis, training liaison at Verde, helped organize the classes, so we connected with her and Hugo Martinez, a worker and class participant at Verde to get the inside scoop on all things Verde.
Alyssa, what do you do at Verde?
I'm the Training Liaison, so I work with crewmembers in the Landscape and Energy enterprises to design Individual Learning Plans and identify training opportunities to help reach their goals. (Learning plans cover general trainings, education specific to the technical requirements of each enterprise, and asset building activities.)
Why did Verde decide to host financial education workshops?
Financial education is important to us - in particular, we'd like to see more people saving, and some folks have debt. The Financial Stability workshop series seemed like the perfect way to get focused on that. We held the class with Emmy for our Spanish-speaking crew members to help them better understand the tools and options available to them and learn about smart financial practices. We had very positive feedback.
Hugo, what is your position at Verde? What do you like about your job?
I work as a weatherization technician. I always like to learn new things, and insulation is something new. I like it because it saves energy and helps people and the environment. I learn, earn, and contribute.
What was the most valuable part of the classes for you?
I enjoyed all of the classes, they were dynamic and entertaining. I liked them because I learned to organize more, to better administer my money. I realized the difference between credit unions and banks, and now I pay more attention to my expenses. I would recommend the classes.
What do you plan to do with the knowledge you've gained?
I'm going to open my savings account and I'm going to improve my credit, because now I see that it's very important.
This spring, Innovative Changes will be piloting a new loan called the DREAMer loan. This loan will cover the cost of filing fees for youth that grew up in the US but are undocumented, so that they can attend higher education, get a work permit and a social security number. Do you see a need for the DREAMer loan among your co-workers and community?
Even though it's not for me, it's excellent support for other people here. I like it when organizations help people; this is why I like Verde. I focus a lot on helping people, so when Emmy mentioned it, I thought, "This organization is good." I know many undocumented students who want to continue studying but can't get a loan, and this will help them, and in the end that helps everyone. A young person who graduates here and stays here will contribute, because they live here and they like it here.
Thanks Alyssa and Hugo! We look forward to collaborating with you more and keep up the great work!
|Introducing our new loan: The DREAMer Loan
On June 15, 2012 President Obama issued the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) through executive order. This means that youth without legal status who have lived in the US since before age 16 and have graduated from high school or served in the military now have the opportunity to stay in the country they call home and work legally without fear of deportation.
There is an estimated 16,600 DREAMers who qualify for reprieve under the President's new executive order in Oregon. However, this process to obtain a temporary work permit is costly. The application fee is $465.00 and there is no fee waiver available for the DACA application. According to a study commissioned by the Pew Hispanic Center, 35 percent of Ecuadorians, 64 percent of Salvadorans, and 75 percent of Mexican immigrants do not have bank accounts. This makes Latin American immigrants rely heavily upon alternative financial services to provide for them in times of financial need. The Latino community has already been the target of different predatory lend schemes aimed at DREAMers, offering loans with up to 60% APR in California.
This is where IC$ comes in. With the new DREAMer loan, a loan of $465, DREAMers will be able to pay for the filing fees, avoid predatory lenders and build credit with their new social security number all at the same time! The DREAMer loan will also help borrowers continue to leverage this opportunity to build assets through IC$s education and matched savings program. In conjunction with several community organizations, IC$ will pilot this loan over the next few months. Stay tuned for updates!
To get involved or find out more information on the DREAMer loan attend our upcoming webinar on February 25th from 1-2pm. You can sign up for it here: https://student.gototraining.com/r/7987003445572993536.
|Financial Education Galore:
We just finished up the January FHR classes in English at the Lloyd Center and in Spanish at Verde. Record numbers of people have been signing up for the classes, so be sure to secure your spot today for the March series. Also, stop by your local library for a seminar! We will be doing several over the next few months.
Upcoming Financial Household Resiliency (FHR) Workshops:
March Financial Household Resiliency Series
Tuesday, March 5th, 5:30-7:30 pm: Making Ends Meet
Tuesday, March 12th, 5:30-7:30 pm: Budgeting and Saving
Tuesday, March 19th 5:30-7:30 pm: Hands-On Banking
Tuesday, March 26th 5:30-7:30 pm: Building, Repairing and Protecting Credit
These classes will be held at our Lloyd Center office on the 3rd floor of the Lloyd Center Mall (between Nordstroms and the food court), 2010 Lloyd Center.The classes can be taken individually or as a series. They are $5 each and $15 for all four classes. Fee waivers are available for those who qualify. To Register: visit our website or call or email Misha at (503)-249-5205/ firstname.lastname@example.org.
Making the Most of Tax Time
Saturday, February 23rd, 2pm - 3pm at the Belmont Library
Wednesday, March 6, 6:30-7:30pm at the
St Johns Library
Tax time brings a window of opportunity. With the added boost to your budget from a tax return you can start paying
off some debts that you've been worrying about, check off items from your wish list, or set up a savings account for your child's college education....the possibilities are endless! However, it's important to remember, even with this extra money, planning is key to using it effectively. We will cover topics such as the mechanics of getting a tax return, how to wisely budget and save your tax return, Earned Income Tax Credits (EITCs), Refund Anticipation Loans (RALs) and more!
Teaching Your Kids About Money
Saturday, March 16, 1-2pm at the Sellwood Library
Sunday, April 21, 2-3pm at the Midland Library
One of the best gifts you can give your children is teaching them the skills to manage money. Passing on good money management habits is a concrete way that you can set your children up for a successful future; even if you are living on a tight budget. In this workshop we'll discuss key ways to get your finances in order so you c an serve as a model for your children. We will also cover activities and tips for teaching your kids about money and ways to save for all the extra expenses that are part of being a parent (back to school, birthdays, college, etc.). It's never too early to start learning and never too late to start teaching! Now's the time to start your kids on a path to money management success!
My Money, Your Money, Our Money!: Money and Relationships
Tuesday, April 23, 6:45-7:45pm at the Capitol Hill Library
No matter your income, family size or marital status, communicating about money is important. Money is one of the leading causes of disagreements in marriages. Talking about money is often seen as taboo, but having discussions about money can be the key to a happy household. Come to this seminar on relationships and money to learn steps you can take to get your household on board in making financial decisions that will benefit you all!
These classes are free and no registration is required.
|Give yourself the gift of education in 2013: Enroll in the IC$ Education IDA Today!
The IC$ IDA program offers a 3:1 match for those saving to attend an institution of higher education. Savers must put at least $25 into an account every month, complete financial education requirements and plan to go back to school or already be attending school. Savers can save for themselves or a loved one.
If you are interested in the IDA program, or know someone who may be interested,come to our next orientation which will be:
- Tuesday, February 12th, 1-2pm, Terrell Hall Room 122 at the Portland Community College Cascade Campus
- Wednesday, February 20th, 5:30-6:30pm at our office in Suite 2010 of the Lloyd Center.
To Register: visit our website or call or email Misha at (503)-249-5205/ email@example.com. For more information about the IDA program visit our website.
Referring Partner Orientation
Would you like to become a partner of Innovative Changes? Interested in refering clients for our loans, financial education and individual coaching sessions? Want to learn more about our programs? Attend our Referring Partner Orientation webinar.
The webinar orientation will take place on Wednesday, February 20th from 10:30 am -11:30am. If you or your coworkers are interested in participating please register here.
This orientation is required for anyone who would like to refer clients for Innovative Changes (IC$) loans and a great way to get to know more about IC$. During the webinar we will go through IC$ programs and services, walk you through the process of referring a client and discuss what happens after you make a referral.
You Can Help!
You care about helping people achieve and maintain household stability. Now you can join our efforts at Innovative Changes as we expand our reach to serve more clients. Your generous donation will be put to good use!
Whatever amount you can afford, you can set it up for monthly automatic payments to ease your cash flow. If you have bill pay service with your bank you can set up Innovative Changes to receive regular monthly payments. If you prefer, we can process a monthly ACH transaction on your behalf. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up your monthly giving program.
Thank you for your support!
As of 2/7/13
472, averaging $465.91 for a total of $220,054.20
Revolved amount: $164,644.98
Repaid loans: 241
Financial education clients: