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Summer 2018 Updates

Dear Friends of Boston Builds Credit,

Every so often, we will send out informal updates to share news from Boston Builds Credit, including information about helpful resources, success stories from our partners, and more. We invite you to read on and learn more about what we and our partners have been working on.Wishing everyone a wonderful end to the summer!

Thank you,

Allison Kroner

Director, Boston Builds Credit

Mayor Walsh thanks and volunteers from the Office of Financial Empowerment for providing the Financial Check-Up and other resources at a recent BHA Unity Day.

The Roxbury Community of Practice

Thank you to the team members who have been coming to our quarterly sessions from our partner organizations: American Consumer Credit Counseling, ABCD, Believe in Success, DSNI, EMPath, IBA, Madison Park, Nuestra Comunidad, Project Hope, Roxbury Center for Financial Empowerment, Street Cred at Boston Medical Center, United South End Settlements, and Urban Edge. A special thank you to Urban Edge for hosting our meetings! We have used this time to discuss the difficult contexts in which credit building often occurs, brainstorm about how to best integrate credit building into existing programs, and share resources with each other about upcoming events, training opportunities, and credit building techniques of interest to staff and clients. The next meeting will be October 2, 2018.

Credit Building Workshops

Boston Builds Credit continues to offer workshops at the Roxbury Center for Financial Empowerment and to promote workshops offered by our partners around the city. Check the listing of events here and share your event with us. We are interested in helping our partners promote all credit building and financial education events offered in Boston. In addition, we have trained workshop presenters who can provide a workshop to your clients. For example, as part of our effort to help young people access credit building information, earlier this summer we held a workshop at Boston Centers for Youth and Families for their collegiate summer staff. We require a minimum of 15 participants to deliver a free workshop. Please contact Allison if interested. If your organization would like to bring this capacity in house, we host a credit building workshop training twice a year through the United Way's Financial Empowerment Learning Institute. The most recent training was just this past July, so look for another training in early 2019. We will announce the next training date through this newsletter.

The Financial Check-Up

The Boston Tax Help Coalition has developed the Financial Check-Up (FCU), a twenty-minute, one-on-one financial assessment tool that provides an individual with the opportunity to review his or her credit report with a trained financial guide, create a three step action plan, and learn how to improve that credit over time. This is a great opportunity for those interested in learning their credit score but who are not yet engaged in long term financial coaching. The FCU is often offered in conjunction with other events, and there are currently three ways to connect clients to this resource:

  • This summer, staff from the Office of Financial Empowerment can be found at Boston Housing Authority Unity Day events, offering the FCU and connecting residents to other financial empowerment resources.

  • A FCU drop-in is offered after each credit building workshop at the Roxbury Center. Visit https://ofe.boston.gov/events/ for the list of upcoming workshops.

  • Organizations are welcome to contact Joe Amerena invite him to your next event to offer the FCU there. His can be reached at joe.amerena@boston.gov.

If you would like to bring this capacity in house, there will be a FCU training at the United Way on Thursday 9/27 from 9:00-1:00. Registration will open shortly, so if you are interested please contact Allison.

Financial Coaching

The Roxbury Center for Financial Empowerment in one of BBC's lead partners. They offer free financial coaching to Boston residents, and hold orientation sessions from 10-11 AM on Mondays and Wednesdays and at 6 PM on the third Wednesday of every month. This coaching extends for 18-24 months and includes budgeting, credit and asset building, and career assistance. Organizations are welcomed and encouraged to make client referrals to the RCFE. The United Way also has many partners who offer financial education and coaching through the region. We have highlighted Boston partners on the BBC website, and organizations are encouraged to refer their clients to any of these partners as well. If your organization provides services in Boston that are open to new clients and you would like us to promote on the BBC website, please let us know.

Other News

Financial Empowerment Learning Institute

United Way, as part of its Financial Empowerment Learning Institute (FELI), held a special edition of its Credit as an Asset training on July 25, 2018. Led by Allison Kroner and Binh Duong of the United Way, the all-day training hosted 35 people from 18 organizations, and included preparation on conducting a credit building workshop. United Way thanks Citizens Bank for funding the FELI sessions, which are usually held monthly and cover topics such as debt management, managing student loans, financial coaching, etc. If you would like to be added to the FELI list-serve to hear about upcoming training opportunities, please email Allison.

Credit Builders' Alliance Annual Symposium

The Credit Builders Alliance recently invited the BBC Leadership team (Mayor Walsh’s Office of Financial Empowerment, United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, and LISC Boston) to participate in a panel at the CBA’s Credit Building Symposium, Building Bridges. We were excited to describe the development of Boston Builds Credit with participants at the conference, and to tell them that a toolkit is being created that will help other municipalities develop similar projects.

New Executive Director at LISC

LISC Boston has a new Executive Director, Karen Kelleher, replacing our valued colleague, Bob Van Meter. We wish Karen the best of luck in her new position, and look forward to introducing her to you in the future. Partner Spotlight: Coming Soon!

We look forward to featuring our partners in future issues of this newsletter! If you have an event, program, or success story to highlight, please contact Allison and we would be happy to share it.

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