Unlocking Possibility: Achieving Financial Stability through Financial Opportunity Centers
United Way fights for the education, health and financial stability of every person in Lucas, Wood and Ottawa County.
This post is brought to you by the generous support of Rudolph Libbe Group, a full-service provider of construction, real estate, energy and facility services. Their commitment to ensuring the success of their customers is matched by their passion for building a stronger community.
Leaning against her apartment wall, Kristin* looked out on her empty apartment in disbelief. How could she ever fill all this space?
It was only a few months ago that Kristin and her four children had nothing. She was homeless, unemployed, utilizing a local shelter as the only place for her family to lay their heads down at night. Getting a job with no bank account, and trying to provide for herself with no credit, or stable income, built barrier after barrier to one day being a provider for her family.
As the year progressed, Kristin was eventually referred to a financial coach through Lutheran Social Services of Northwestern Ohio. And, it was only through the support of this coach, that she soon became exposed to a plethora of services that she could engage in, for free, at her local Financial Opportunity Center (FOC).
FOC’s embed themselves in community organizations, where they assist low to moderate-income Toledoans in building their personal finances and charting their career paths.
To Kristin, as someone who has struggled her entire life, she was a little skeptical walking into her coach’s office for the very first time. This all looked great on paper, but were these services actually going to finally get her family ahead?
She feared being disappointed, like every experience before.
But this time was different. Soon, small steps to become more financially stable turned into leaps. After seven months, Kirstin met her personal goals of obtaining permanent housing, securing full-time employment and increasing her household income. In less than a year, she completely changed the direction of her life.
In addition to her accomplishments, Kristin is still working with her financial coach to further grow her income and provide for her family. Though she is still considered in poverty, she is able to continue engaging in FOC sessions, which help her access the support to keep her housed.
That is why, standing here in this new space feels different this time. This isn’t her family’s home for the next week or month—it’s their little corner of the world for as long as she pleases.
So she kicks off her shoes and lets her feet sink into the plush beige carpet. And as she holds the key to her front door in the palm of her hand, she finally feels on track and in control—she feels home.
CHANGE MAKER ACTION: Because of your support, United Way of Greater Toledo and our strong corporate partners, like Rudolph Libbe, are able to invest in the Financial Opportunity Center programs and help create more financially stable homes in our community. Rudolph Libbe Group has been a United Way corporate partner for over 30 years. Their employee and corporate support have been instrumental in funding programs like the Financial Opportunity Center. They have also participated in Days of Caring volunteer projects renovating and revitalizing neighborhoods that the Financial Opportunity Centers serve. By donating below, you can join us in our fight to stabilize more families facing financial crisis’ in our community.
*This blog post is fictional but based on a real success story submitted by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) on behalf of their United Way funded program, the Toledo Financial Opportunity Center Network. All identities of submitted success stories are anonymous for privacy and story details have been added in order to provide a better understanding of the individual’s personal successes and struggles.
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