A new program intended to help low-income families work toward financial stability will start this summer in Tacoma.
The Center for Strong Families is being launched by the United Way of Pierce County and will serve families who are living in poverty or living just above the poverty line.
The program will help people improve their incomes, credit scores and savings through education and long-term financial coaching.
“It’s a different way of serving clients and working with them over a long period of time to break the cycle of poverty,” said Corey Mosesly, who is heading up the project for United Way. “It’s about financial well-being for the whole family.”
Sound Outreach, a nonprofit that helps financially vulnerable Pierce County residents build economic strength, will serve as the lead organization for the center, which will likely be in the former KeyBank building at 1120 S. 11th St. The property is owned by the Tacoma Housing Authority, which will be a partner.
Other partners include Bates Technical College, Tacoma Urban League, Tacoma Housing Authority and the Northwest Leadership Foundation.
The same program will be added at Goodwill’s Milgard Work Opportunity Center at 714 Tacoma Ave. S. United Way is providing a $75,000 in funding for the program.
Goodwill’s current job training programs will expand to feature new post-graduation coaching in financial literacy and asset building for youths, adults, seniors and their families.
“With the financial stress on our area families, it is critical that our programs offer additional skills to build and maintain solid family foundations,” said Terry Hayes, president and CEO of Goodwill of the Olympics and Rainier Region.
“This additional education program, Prosperity Extension Services, will help our graduates during the most crucial and relevant time — as they become employed and begin to earn an income,” Hayes said.
United Way hopes to open three more program sites within the next five years, Mosesly said.
“It’s a proven model,” Mosesly said of the bundling of services and financial training.
Twelve percent of Pierce County families live in poverty and another 22 percent who live above the federal poverty level are employed, but struggle to provide their families with basic needs such as food and shelter, according to research from United Way.
Funding for the programs was provided in part by a $200,000 grant from State Farm Insurance to Local Initiatives Support Corporation. Additional funding came from the City of Tacoma, CHI Franciscan Health, MultiCare Health System, Washington State Employees Credit Union and Commencement Bank.