April is National Financial Literacy Month
The Domestic Violence Resource Center is the only domestic violence service provider in the region to offer its clients access to a Financial Literacy Program.
Over the past three years of offering this program, 61 women with 83 combined children have received individualized financial coaching that focuses on budgeting, building a savings account, and finding affordable permanent housing.
Sadly, financial control, manipulation, and insecurity are significant components in most relationships where domestic violence occurs. Financial abuse can be insidious, initially appearing as a considerate offer to take care of the bills or a casual request to borrow money. But it often escalates until the abuser has full control of every bank account, credit card, and paycheck. This means that victims have an unfathomable choice: risk staying in an abusive relationship, or risk becoming homeless and facing poverty. Consequently, the organization understands it has a responsibility to do more to help the families we serve avoid homelessness.
Financial Literacy Program offerings include:
- Efforts to help clients pay off all payday loans, educational resources to help maintain/gain employment, benefits enrollment support, steps about how to build good credit, understanding the basics of taxes and insurance, education about child and spousal support, and more.
- Clients are encouraged to save for three to six months to create an emergency fund. This effort intensified due to the COVID-19 pandemic to help prepare clients who had reduced hours or were laid off and/or had increased technology needs due to working remotely.
- An emphasis on saving to qualify for market-rate housing helps clients who are preparing to exit the TH program. Clients are encouraged to find market-rate housing (with Advocate support) and estimate what the monthly rent and utility payments would be. Clients then aim to put into savings the estimated amount of rent/utilities each month to prepare them for market-rate housing after they exit from the program.
- Rent Repayment Program, Transitional Housing (TH) clients are given 50% of the rent paid (during the two-year program) back upon successful completion of the program.
The impact of our financial literacy program can be best described by those it serves, a former TH client (a single mother of three) stated, ” the Financial Coach helped me through all of my financial concerns. She taught me how to budget, build my credit and even save my money. I feel much more confident and am more disciplined with my finances.” Significantly, domestic violence survivors’ efforts to increase their financial self-sufficiency can reduce the likelihood that their children will fall victim to the cycle of violence in the future.
Honor Moms this Mother’s Day
The Domestic Violence Resource Center celebrates all of the mothers who have taken the first step away from the violence that physically, emotionally, and financially controlled them, to rebuild their lives for themselves and their children.
We encourage you to donate today to increase our capacity to support the mothers in our program who are working to feel secure in their future and are making informed choices that allow them to enjoy a life free from violence.
As a special gift, we’d like to share a charming piece of artwork with our supporters. The children in our residential program have collectively created a holiday favorite, a handmade keepsake. The 20 little fingerprints are arranged to create a charming flower bouquet representing the 20 children in our program who are building their resilience everyday to overcome past experiences. This heartfelt keepsake will be presented to the mothers of these children on Mother’s Day.
Donations of $50.00 or more made in honor of a special mother in your life will receive a digital version of the bouquet created by the children in our program. To ensure that this individual receives her digital bouquet on Mother’s Day, please donate by May 1, 2022. Honorary gifts received after May 23rd will not receive the bouquet.
All gifts made in honor of a special mother will receive a personal letter notifying them of your generous donation. When donating, please be sure to include the name, address, and email of the individual you are honoring. Join us in celebrating the mothers who have worked to create financially independent and sustainable futures for themselves and their children.
Happy Mother’s Day and many thanks,
Malena S. Raymond
Interim Executive Director