WORK PRODUCTS:

ORGANIZATIONS REPRESENTED: Care Coordination for Children (CC4C), Community Volunteers, Congregational Nurses, Department of Public Health, Family Justice Center, Greensboro Housing Authority, High Point Housing Authority, Parents, YWCA High Point

COMMUNITY PROBLEM: No clear understanding of system interactions that create housing instability through financial literacy gaps.

CHALLENGE GOAL: Explore the complexity of system characteristics linking housing, financial literacy, and basic needs.

READY/READY FRAMEWORK ELEMENT ADDRESSED: SUPPORTED FAMILIES > Sufficient Quality Supports Available for Families > Basic needs are met

PERSPECTIVES ENGAGED: Families, direct service providers who have experience with financial literacy programs, staff of Greensboro Housing Authority and Housing Authority of the City of High Point.

ACTIONS TAKEN & ASSOCIATED BEST PRACTICES

  • Defined the targeted problem/population/setting: Lack of financial literacy skills can create housing instability for families no matter their other circumstances, but families experiencing poverty face additional barriers to safe and stable housing.
  • Conducted root cause analysis: Re-scoped challenge to focus on system interactions due to interconnectivity of root causes (safe and stable housing, financial literacy, and basic needs); identified best practices guidelines related to financial literacy education (PDF) and National Standards from Institute for Financial Literacy (PDF).
  • Assess fit and capacity of existing efforts: Interviewed six local financial literacy education programs about services, curricula, and data they collect; engaged in sense-making with the data gathered.
  • Identified powerful strategies to target root causes. Revisited root causes, identified obstacles encountered during the process of attempting to gather data about this problem and identified strategies to address them, and made recommendations based on powerful strategies identified.

WHAT WE LEARNED

  • Financial literacy assets: There are many financial literacy offerings, through public and private sources, that address a variety of needs, skill levels, and audiences. Some of these resources use best practices, including Housing Authority of the City of High Point’s Financial Literacy Classes; Consumer Credit Counseling Service (Family Service of the Piedmont); United Way of Greater Greensboro & Family Success Center, among others.
  • Financial literacy gaps: No centralized source connecting families to financial literacy education unless crisis occurs or family is working toward home ownership.

SIGNIFICANT WINS: 

  • Challenge Team was led by family leader who also participated in the Ready for School, Ready for Life Family Photovoice Project.
  • Team engaged deeply in the systems work by taking on a large and complex problem, exploring it through several lenses and were willing to change course when data pointed them in another direction.

RECOMMENDATIONS: 

  1. Strengthen United Way’s 2-1-1 resource to be the central source/community connector for information and resources related to basic needs, financial literacy, housing and more. Add “financial literacy services” category to 2-1-1 and promote the mobile app.
  2. Conduct pilot program in which a basic needs assessment and financial literacy options are offered during the intake process for other services (to embed them in the system). Include referral/connection to needed programs and services.
  3. Identify and engage trusted champions within the community to spread everyday financial literary success stories and to normalize financial literacy improvement.
  4. Identify and connect groups with collective efforts around housing, financial literacy, and basic needs in Guilford County to work on ways to house people who don’t qualify for government assistance, but who cannot afford market prices. Search for innovative solutions that build community and social capital and provide for basic needs.