Our FOCs At Work On The Ground | OPDC Joblinks | June 2017Leave a Comment
Coaches work as a team to support clients’ progress toward financial stability
By: Rebekkah Ranallo | Oakland Planning and Development Corporation
When Esther Hicks was diagnosed with a debilitating disease, her life changed. She was in and out of the hospital and couldn’t maintain a steady job. She fell behind on bills and eventually ended up homeless. When Esther came to OPDC’s Financial Opportunity Center, she was living in a shelter, and had multiple loans in default, significantly impacting her credit score. She had no bank account and didn’t know where to start.
The FOC team worked with Esther to land a part-time job, open up a bank account, and enroll in an income-based repayment plan for her student loans. OPDC’s Financial Coach, Shay, sent letters to multiple credit bureaus advocating for Esther’s credit to be updated with her progress. The Health Employment Coordinator, Janette, gave Esther a lead for a healthcare position, which she landed.
Today, Esther has a full time job at Schenley Gardens Senior Living and received a pay increase in just a few months. Her credit score has improved, her bank account is in good standing, and because Shay was a reference for landlords, Esther leased her own apartment in December.
“The financial coaching and job services really go together and honestly, I needed both. I needed help making a plan to tackle a lot of goals all at once. Shay kept me focused and positive. She made me aware of how important it is to create a budget, plan, and save. Janette gave me the lead on Schenley Gardens and I got the job almost immediately. They all work together and are just an incredible resource.”
By providing financial coaching, training, and traditional career services all under one roof, OPDC helps people do more than get a job – they build wealth over time by creating a long-term plan for financial success. The staff team sticks with clients for as long as they need to achieve their goals. OPDC is combatting poverty by helping people in the margins of our community make real, lasting changes to their financial future, and the futures of their children.
Neighborhood Allies, with technical support from Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and financial support from local partners, launched three Financial Opportunity Centers (FOC) in January 2015 in/around Pittsburgh to help low and moderate income families build assets and attain financial stability and upward mobility. Since launching in 2015, our local network of FOCs have provided bundled services to over 1000 individuals. 719 people have obtained employment and 380 have increased their net income.