The penultimate event for UNHP’s What We Do event series ( and fundraiser) was a two-day virtual Bronx Nonprofit and Financial Empowerment Exchange. The UNHP Northwest Bronx Resource Center, UNHP’s Direct Service arm, hosted the webinar that was attended by 39 individuals representing 14 community groups. The Webinar provided an in-depth look at credit and its role in building financial stability as well as an opportunity for groups to share challenges and opportunities to help Bronx families and individuals move from housing and financial crisis to stability to financial growth.
Attending groups list:
- Bronx Community Health Network (BCHN)
- Cetera Investors
- Fordham Bedford Community Services
- Fordham Bedford Housing Corporation
- Neighborhood Housing Services NYC (NHS)
- Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners (NTFP)
- Part of the Solution
- Sauti Yetu Center for African Women and Families
- South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation - SoBRO
- Stonewall CDC
- University Neighborhood Housing Program
- West Bronx Housing and Neighborhood Resource Center
- VIP Community Services
Jumelia Abrahamson, UNHP Director of Programs, a Credit as an Asset Master Trainer facilitated this series by personalizing Credit Builders Alliance (CBA) curriculum to the Bronx. Most of the groups in attendance were Bronx nonprofits and those outside of the Bronx served many Bronx residents. The goals of the gathering were to network, and share resources available to Bronx families and individuals and to build knowledge around credit, and discuss and share how to incorporate financial empowerment services and referrals to the Bronx residents your organization serves. The curriculum from CBA, combined with the experience and knowledge of our staff and attending groups made for a deep exchange of information, challenges, and opportunities to build financial stability.
Jumelia stressed the need to connect personal experience with financial knowledge. This focus was revealed during the ice-breaker when participants shared when they got their first credit card and how that experience felt. Many got their first card through post-college offers and while at first excited most mismanaged the card and were left with feelings of trepidation around credit similar to our clients’ same experience.
There was an extended opportunity to network and share resources on each day of the webinar. 2-3 breakout sessions were created to facilitate conversation among the groups.
- Zoom polls and Breakout rooms created for lively conversations
- Participants shared the services they offered and the services that they were looking for to serve clients
- A discussion of capacity and how to make an effective financial coaching referral
- Services included Excluded Workers Fund, Financial coaching, tax preparation, homebuyer counseling, casework, homebuyer assistance, rent freeze, subsidized housing, food pantry, SNAP, Legal Services, Immigration; Health Insurance Access; Sexual & Reproductive Health Education & Counseling; COVID-19 Vaccine Education and many others
- Examples of how to incorporate discussion around credit and financial coaching into conversations with clients - because COVID made the importance of the proper bank account and an emergency fund very clear
- The barriers to working on credit for Bronx residents - inequalities, crisis, rigged system, homelessness, stolen identity as a child, low wages, limited disposable income, high rents
- The opportunities that are present now with the stimulus, CTC and covid relief programs that provide incentives to having a bank account, addressing credit
- The need for ongoing advocacy to address systemic issues with credit reporting that impact BIPOC and low income households - verizon credit punishments but no reward
After this webinar series, long-term relationships were strengthened and new partnerships were established. UNHP looks forward to collaborating with local practitioners in order to better serve our program users and in turn continue to fulfill our mission of bringing “sound” resources to the Northwest Bronx.