Last month, Money Smart week swept the nation. Financial education was all the buzz as organizations across the country hosted events that helped people develop money management skills. One of these events was Make Change Now!, a day full of workshops and financial planners available to meet with anyone for free. Who was behind this wonderful event you may ask? Well, Innovative Changes and our partners Missy Kloos and Suzzane Crawtha at Bradley Angle House (BAH). Missy, the Community Based Service Manager, came up with the idea at a Jumpstart meeting. We were thrilled with the outcome of the event; it was a great model of collaboration between our programs to meet a real community need, so we wanted to highlight our longstanding partnership with Bradley Angle in this issue of the newsletter.
The mission of Bradley Angle is to offer survivors of domestic and sexual violence options for safety, empowerment, healing and hope, while collaborating with our communities to create social change. Missy Kloos came to BAH five years ago as an intern through her graduate program at Portland State University in social work. With a background in women’s studies and past volunteer work with domestic violence survivors, she was tasked with expanding their community services and founding the economic empowerment program. Operating out of the Healing Roots Center, the economic empowerment program has grown tremendously in the past five years. Its programs include a Making Sense Class, an eight week financial education course in which participants are guided to examine their financial situation, set short- and long-term financial goals, and work towards increasing their financial self-sufficiency; one on one economic advocacy; education and small business individual development accounts; and a private matched savings program that help participants save for smaller short term goals. In addition, through a partnership with IC$, Bradley Angle offers loans to economic empowerment graduates as another way to take steps to get ahead.
Missy reflects, “I’ve seen people come to our program that are living in an emergency shelter and are in a financial and overall crisis. Through our program they take a leap in addressing financial barriers and have especially benefited doing that with a combination of peer support in a group setting and one on one.” Missy explains that access to incentives such as saving accounts and IC$ loans to support savings goals help participants take further steps to move into safe environments.
Missy recalls one recent Making Sense graduate who, with support from BAH and IC$, took out a loan to offset her costs of starting a small business. She successfully paid back the loan to build her credit and is doing well. “This is a good example of how taking a first step to address scary and unknown barriers can open doors for taking control of your life to make a change,” says Missy.
“Our programs complement each other really well,” she says, “we do similar work but each have a different expertise.” The Make Change Now event was a great chance for IC$ and BAH to combine our expertise and host an event open to the public. The event was well attended, with a critical mass of people staying the full seven hours to participate in workshops on budgeting, credit, predatory lending, tax considerations for domestic violence survivors and more.
Missy remarks, “The fact that so many people showed up shows the need for events like this in the community. The event was accessible, attracting people that may not traditionally access domestic violence services but may need them. Many people came up to me afterwards wanting to continue talking about safety and finances. We were able to reciprocally refer people to each other’s programs and increase awareness about opportunities for financial empowerment.”
Missy got the chance to experience some financial empowerment herself this year by participating in a homebuyer’s IDA program. “Before the IDA, I never had such a large saving goal in mind. It was exciting to make my deposits every time- the year went by super fast!” Since her IDA participation Missy has closed on a house and will be moving in soon!
IC$ looks forward to continued collaboration with Bradley Angle House!