Tuesday, January 7, 2014

LISC receives $2.25 million MetLife Foundation grant

News from NHC's family of members
by Radiah Shabazz, National Housing Conference

MetLife Foundation recently awarded NHC member Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) with a $2.25 million grant to support LISC’s 71 Financial Opportunity Centers (FOC) in their efforts to develop long-term financial stability for low-income families. The centers work with families to manage debt, find jobs, create household budgets, and get access to public benefits. The grant is part of MetLife’s five-year, $200 million commitment to financial inclusion.

Specifically, MetLife is partnering with LISC to launch a pilot program, Twin Accounts, which will focus on assisting low-income families in building their credit scores. According to LISC, an improved credit score is one of the most important steps in helping families to improve finances. It also helps provide better access to rental housing, lower insurance rates and expanded job opportunities.

“The FOC model provides the tools and services that low-income residents need to stabilize their financial outlook,” said LISC Vice President for National Programs, Kevin Jordan. “The recession may have been officially over for several years but its lingering impact is alive and well for many low-income families.”

FOC is one of a number of ways affordable housing developers and managers can provide asset-building programs for their residents. In a January 16 webinar, representatives from NHC, the Assets for Independence program, and the California Coalition for Rural Housing will discuss a range of financial education and matched savings programs for low-income residents.

This partnership is not the first between LISC and MetLife. The organizations have partnered in the past on programs that helped to build and expand LISC’s Community Safety Initiative, and on financing supportive housing for homeless veterans through the Bring Them HOMES program, another LISC initiative.

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