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Financial Health

What does it mean to be financially healthy or financially secure when anyone can face big swings in their paycheck from month to month? When it can feel impossible to pay bills or everyday expenses, much less having enough savings to pay for an unexpected medical bill or repair a car? Our family, neighbors and friends don't feel financially confident enough that they'll be able to keep their homes — whether they own or rent — and sometimes, they don't have even the smallest amount in savings. This is why financial capability is critical and why NeighborWorks strategically connects it to all of our work. 

So what makes NeighborWorks unique? We build communities of opportunity where everyone has equitable access to the information, resources and tools they need to make sound financial decisions, achieve financial mobility and build assets through affordable homes. 

To achieve this, we believe that everyone needs access to:
  • Safe, stable and healthy homes. 
  • Reliable financial information, counseling and coaching.
  • Access to affordable financial products and services.
Through partnerships, community organizations nationwide and our network of nearly 250 nonprofits, we help individuals and families progress from financial crisis to a financial future. This is especially important for communities of color, which are still feeling the effects from the recession and facing a growing gap in household wealth and home equity.

The financial health of families and communities is critical to our mission — from preserving affordable homes to revitalizing neighborhoods. On a local level, the NeighborWorks network ensures that everyone has the information, resources and support that they need to reach and sustain their financial health and achieve their financial goals. Just take a look at our FY 2018 numbers: 
  • NeighborWorks organizations have helped more than 11,500 customers through financial capability services. 
  • NeighborWorks organizations have created and maintained more than 45,100 jobs.
  • We've helped more than 900 professionals improve their skills and obtain professional certification in financial capability. 

Strategies & Research

  • Our national housing and financial capability survey shows that due to the current economic environment, many people have delayed moving or buying a home because their focus is paying their day-to-day expenses. Many people lack significant savings or emergency funds and don't feel they can afford to own a home. This is especially true among low-income families, young adults and minority groups. 
  • The goal of eviction prevention is housing stability. Our eviction prevention guide offers tips for effective resident engagement.
  • Our Financial Capability Learning Lab provided six NeighborWorks organizations with the opportunity to test and launch new strategies to address critical markeplace needs and move the financial health field forward. 
  • Our Customer Outreach and Engagement brief focuses on four customer-centric strategies to strengthen customer outreach and engagement. 
  • Our Customer Retention brief spotlights three strategies to strengthen customer retention to keep more customers in financial capability programs long enough to achieve positive financial outcomes. 
  • Our study shows that participants in matched savings programs experience positive outcomes related to growing their savings and reaching their goals.  
What is Financial Capability?
It’s the ability to navigate life’s events. It’s more than just setting financial goals...it’s actually building toward them.

Training certified experts

In today's complex financial world, everyone faces an overwhelming number of choices — finding the right budgeting tool, navigating the financial landscape of taking on student loans, dealing with debt or credit issues, working on long-term goals like saving for a home or opening a small business. Another hurdle many communities face: a lack of trusted resources or places where they can get financial guidance. 

This makes it all the more crucial that financial counselors and coaches are giving accurate, reliable information. When most adults are one paycheck away from disaster, the wrong advice can be dangerous. 

This is why NeighborWorks ensures that individuals and families receive reliable information and guidance. In order for financial capability programs to remain impactful and continue to be trusted community resources, we believe programs need to be grounded in professional standards. To advance this goal, we offer a suite of online and in-person classes that address the financial needs and questions that consumers face day-to-day and in their long-term planning. We also offer specialized certifications that have been approved under the National Industry Standards.  

Helping measure success and results

What steps are residents taking to manage their finances over time? Are your programs and services helping them achieving their financial goals? 

Our Success Measures financial capability tools are essential to sustaining and growing your financial capability services, enhance your program and demonstrate your organization's impact. 

Sharing stories of our impact

Education can help lift levels of black homeownership
Despite an improving economy, the gap between black and white homeownership continues to be a wide one.
Far too many struggle with housing and financial stability, NeighborWorks survey finds
Over several years of collecting national data on housing affordability trends and financial preparedness, NeighborWorks America has found that disparity in homeownership among minorities continues to grow and the majority of Americans continue to need help in understanding the homebuying process.
Creating a crisis budget: Restoring calm, saving cash
As people lose jobs and worry about the future, experts suggest that creating a crisis budget can help alleviate stress. "Treat it like a to-do list," says a financial capability expert at NeighborWorks America.
AHC helps residents build credit with rent reporting
NeighborWorks America's network organization AHC Inc. uses rent reporting to help residents build credit or repair poor credit history using on-time rent reporting, while also helping to instill healthy financial behaviors that can have lasting impact.