FCADV Economic Justice Initiative’s Economic Empowerment Advocate Toolkit

According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), along with fear, domestic violence survivors cite income and financial security as the strongest deterrents to leaving an abusive relationship. In 98 percent of abusive relationships, survivors have indicated that one of the primary reasons for staying in or returning to an abusive relationship is their inability to financially provide for themselves and their children.

Whether an abuser manipulates finances as a form of abuse or a survivor feels incapable of escaping an abusive situation because of financial struggles, finances often are a barrier to creating a life free from abuse. While financial abuse is a common tactic used by perpetrators, it is not widely understood, making it one of the most powerful methods of trapping a survivor in an abusive relationship. The lack of financial independence may reduce the likelihood of a survivor remaining safe should they decide to leave.

The effect of financial abuse can be devastating, and the financial impact of domestic violence can last 10-20 years while the survivor rebuilds credit and secures housing, childcare, and transportation.

Financial safety is also a consideration for survivors when planning to stay in or leave an abusive relationship. Survivors must be equipped with the tools to make informed financial decisions and to take proactive security measures, both of which may be critical to their safety.

This online toolkit was designed to support Florida’s domestic violence center advocates with the tools they need to help survivors not only make informed financial decisions by increasing their knowledge of economic empowerment, but to also learn ways to help protect them from financial abuse through financial safety planning. The toolkit is a collection of resources, promising practices, and ideas put together by FCADV staff and advocates currently in the field, implementing economic empowerment programs. Five of Florida’s certified domestic violence centers are funded through FCADV and the Allstate Foundation to offer survivors financial literacy programming. These successful programs have contributed to countless number of survivors becoming financially independent and free from an abuser’s financial grasp. In fact, throughout the toolkit, you will find inspiring stories about survivors that have overcome immeasurable obstacles based on their perseverance and the assistance of the below programs:

  1. Harbor House, Orlando, FL
  2. Peace River Center, Lakeland, FL
  3. Peaceful Paths Domestic Abuse Network, Gainesville, FL
  4. Shelter for Abused Women and Children, Naples, FL
  5. Shelter House, Ft. Walton Beach, FL

For more information about the above centers and their Economic Empowerment programming, please contact FCADV at 850-425-2749 and ask to speak with the Economic Justice Initiatives Coordinator.

“Economic justice and financial independence are consistently identified as top needs by survivors of domestic violence. Survivors are often faced with the devastating choice of leaving behind a home, income, benefits and economic security in exchange for seeking safety away from violent perpetrators.” – Tiffany Carr, FCADV President/CEO

 

Economic Justice has helped survivors regain financial independence by helping survivors start small businesses, gain IDA matched saving accounts, acquire housing, gain employment, learn financial management skills, and become self-sufficient. Through the tireless work of advocates, and the courage and strength of survivors, economic justice initiatives have empowered many lives. – Ta’Nika Ellington, Peace River Center

This is transformative work and why...

Every member of FCADV’s Economic Justice Workgroup agreed that engaging in financial empowerment work is transformative work. 1”Overall, advocates agreed that the inclusion of economic empowerment content and programs strengthen services for survivors. A positive unintended consequence of financial literacy programs is the financial empowerment of advocates themselves. By applying the material to their own circumstances, advocates are able to increase their own financial literacy and personal resources. Thus, teaching financial literacy has a transformative effect on individual advocates.” This is a sentiment Workgroup members and other advocates working with survivors on financial literacy share.

Importance of sensitivity when working with survivors and advocates on financial literacy

The importance of sensitivity when working with survivors and advocates on financial literacy was mentioned multiple times during each of the in person meetings the Economic Justice Workgroup convened when compiling information for this toolkit. Let’s face it, finances are difficult to discuss in the best of times. Add crisis, abusers using finances as a tactic to sustain power and control, and trauma to the equation and personal finances become even more difficult to talk about. This is a critical element for advocates to keep in mind when working with survivors. And, it is just as critical for center leadership to remember when advocates begin taking a closer look at their financial literacy. This is an inevitability of centers starting economic empowerment programming.

An essential element of building trust is being empathetic and nonjudgmental when discussing how a survivor was financially abused. For many women, it is humiliating to discuss how the abuser refused to allow her access to the family checking account and only parceled out funds to her when essentials were needed like food and clothing. Acknowledging the damage these abusive behaviors can do to a survivor’s confidence about managing money is crucial. Another tactic abusers use is to refuse the survivor’s access to employment. Many abusers do not allow survivors to work which creates an additional burden when leaving. Where will she work to support her and her children if she has been out of the workforce for many years, raising their kids as a fulltime stay-at-home mom? Where will she get the first and last months rent for an apartment if she has no access to the family’s checking account or savings? Where can she apply for a job without him finding her? These are terrifying questions that take immense courage to face AND share with advocates. As a result, advocates must acknowledge survivors’ courage and honor survivors’ experiences as they navigated financial barriers and challenges created by abusive partners.

It is important to note that there may be times when it is inappropriate to work with survivors on financial matters. As always, meet survivors where they are and recognize that financial empowerment may not be her primary concern. Assisting survivors with what they identify as their primary need is most important. For example, some survivors have very little or no access to money and are unemployed. For many survivors living in poverty, budgeting and savings plans are not topics they have the luxury to discuss. Instead, helping a survivor find financial assistance to feed and clothe her children takes precedence. Talking about IDAs or microloans in these scenarios can be offensive. On the other hand, financial safety planning is a topic that may be discussed in many circumstances. However, it is still important to be sensitive because conversations about money may be triggering and bring up unpleasant or traumatic memories of abuse.

1The Role of Advocates for Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence in Financial Empowerment Programs Elithet Silva-Martínez, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, San Juan, PR Fran Danis, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX https://sswr.confex.com/sswr/2015/webprogram/Paper23336.html
Judy L. Postmus, PhD, Associate Professor, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

 

FCADV’s Economic Justice Initiative

 

The mission of FCADV'S Economic Justice Initiative is to provide training, information and resources to address the economic conditions that create barriers to the long-term independence and safety of survivors and their children.

Financial instability is one of the largest obstacles for survivors seeking safety and one of the reasons that survivors most often give for why they stay or have returned to their abuser. The ability to survive financially without the abuser presents challenges, whether it be due to loss of income, a place to live, childcare, healthcare or other money issues, including access to credit. Advocating for economic justice strategies can improve the many social conditions that prevent safety for survivors. Safe options to addressing some of these challenges include making informed decisions about how to avoid predatory lending and consumer scams, building good credit, accessing resources for affordable housing, financial education and for building assets through savings, homeownership or entrepreneurship.

As a part of the Economic Justice Initiative, FCADV provides on-site, regional and statewide trainings as well as technical assistance to Florida's certified domestic violence centers. Trainings includes information on working with survivors to develop spending plans, avoid predatory lending, re-establish credit and/or banking relationships and learning about innovative programs such as matched savings and micro-entrepreneurship. Trainings and technical assistance are also available to help advocates understand housing protections for survivors and identify potential solutions to long-term housing needs.

The Allstate Foundation provides funding to FCADV to support five local certified domestic violence centers with economic empowerment programs for survivors. These programs provide education in financial literacy, access to local resources, expand access to banking services, and build financial stability by using strategies such as matched savings.

 

  1. Harbor House, Orlando, FL https://www.harborhousefl.com/

    Harbor House provides ongoing economic Financial Empowerment workshops to survivors at shelter, outreach, and through their community-based housing / rapid rehousing programs. Attendees attend weekly meetings that correspond with the Allstate Foundation's Moving Ahead Through Financial Management curriculum. In addition to following the curriculum, Harbor House staff offer real-life activities that correspond with each week's lesson and help survivors apply what they have learned to their own life. Harbor House assists survivors with transportation, child care, and offers food at the workshops. If survivors are unable to attend the group classes they may participate in the Allstate curriculum on an individual basis.

    For questions, please contact: Ginnely Carrasco – Outreach Services Manager 407-706-9515 or e-mail gcarrasco@harborhousefl.com

  2. Peace River Center, Lakeland, FL http://peacerivercenter.org/page/view/domesticViolence

    Peace River Center offers an Economic Empowerment program and an Adult Literacy program. Survivors may take advantage of an eight week Allstate Micro-loan for Small Business and Education Certifications class or a four week Credit Counseling class. Their Adult Literacy program focuses on basic math skills, reading comprehension and vocabulary enhancement.

    For questions, please contact: Ta’Nika Ellington – Economic Justice Advocate 863-604-2349 or e-mail tellington@peacerivercenter.org

  3. Peaceful Paths Domestic Abuse Network, Gainesville, FL http://www.peacefulpaths.org/

    For questions please contact: Trish White – Residential Advocacy Coordinator and Financial Educator and Coach 352-377-1083 or email trishw@peacefulpaths.org

  4. Shelter for Abused Women and Children (The Shelter), Naples, FL
    http://naplesshelter.org/

    The Shelter for Abused Women and Children’s program utilizes the Allstate Foundation’s Moving Ahead Through Financial Management financial literacy curriculum. The Shelter conducts a variety of job readiness activities and workshops to help survivors improve their ability to acquire and retain living wage jobs. The Shelter’s program focuses on self-confidence and uses a comprehensive approach to job readiness that links survivors to skill building opportunities that offer alternatives to low wage jobs with no benefits. Advocates work individually with participants to help them overcome barriers to their economic stability.

    The Shelter also has an Individual Development Accounts (IDA) program that provides matched savings to participating survivors. The program provides opportunities for survivors to secure savings for their future.

    IDAs are emerging as one of the most promising tools that enable low-income and low-wealth American families to save, build assets, and enter the financial mainstream. Based on the idea that all Americans should have access, through the tax code or through direct expenditures, to the structures that subsidize homeownership and retirement savings of wealthier families, IDAs reward the monthly savings of working-poor families who are trying to buy their first home, pay for post-secondary education, or start a small business. These matched savings accounts are similar to 401(k) plans and other matched savings accounts but can serve a broad range of purposes. Benefits include:

    • Low-income families can save monthly. Deposits increase as the monthly target increases, indicating that low-income families' saving behavior, like that of wealthier individuals, is influenced by the incentives they receive
    • Financial literacy creates savers and savvy consumers. Key to the success of IDAs is the economic education that participants receive. Information about repairing credit, reducing expenditures, applying for the Earned Income Tax Credit, avoiding predatory lenders, and accessing financial services helps IDA participants to reach saving goals and to integrate themselves into the mainstream economic system
    • Assets change lives. More than income enhancement, asset accumulation affects individuals' confidence about the future, willingness to defer gratification, avoidance of risky behavior, and investment in community. In families where assets are owned, children do better in school, voting participation increases, and family stability improves. Reliance on public assistance decreases as families use their assets to access higher education and better jobs, reduce their housing costs through ownership, and create their own job opportunities through entrepreneurship
    • Communities benefit from homeownership, entrepreneurship, and educational attainment. Research summarized by the Center for Social Development (CSD) demonstrates many beneficial aspects of assets:
      • They promote economic household stability and educational attainment
      • Decrease the risk of intergenerational poverty transmission
      • Increase health and satisfaction among adults
      • Increase local civic involvement

    Lastly, The Shelter offers a four-week business program tilled Women of Business in order to provide the necessary training to those survivors interested in having their own business to reach financial stability. This is accomplished with the assistance of a volunteer from the Goodwill SWFL MicroEnterprise Institute. The microloan component provides small loans to Women of Business participants. The program provides opportunities for survivors to access loans to assist them with business.

    For questions please contact: Maylen Garcia, BA – Economic Empowerment and Transitional Housing Advocate 239-775-3862 or email mgarcia@naplesshelter.org

  5. Shelter House, Ft. Walton Beach, FL http://www.shelterhousenwfl.org/

    Shelter House advocates work with participants to eliminate financial barriers to successfully and permanently leaving abusive relationships. Budgeting and financial safety planning are offered to all Shelter, Outreach and Transitional Housing participants as is the Day of WAM! (Women and Money), a four-hour economic empowerment and financial literacy course based on Allstate's Moving Ahead Through Financial Management curriculum. Shelter House also partners with WomenConnect, a subcommittee of the Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce, to present free workshops on economic empowerment to participants and the community.

    For questions please contact: Carrie Warf, Program Director 850.243.1201 or email cwarf@shelterhousenwfl.org

    Rosalyn Iovieno, Executive Director 850.243.1201 or email riovieno@shelterhousenwfl.org

 

The following is from the NNEDV’s Economic Justice Project led by Kim Pentico, Director, Economic Justice Program found at: http://nnedv.org/resources/ejresources/about-financial-abuse.html

Financial abuse is a common tactic used by abusers to gain power and control in a relationship. The forms of financial abuse may be subtle or overt but in in general, include tactics to limit the partner’s access to assets or conceal information and accessibility to the family finances. Financial abuse along with emotional, physical and sexual abuse, manipulation, intimidation and threats are all intentional tactics used by an abuser aimed at entrapping the partner in the relationship. In some abusive relationships, financial abuse is present throughout the relationship and in other cases financial abuse becomes present when the survivor is attempting to leave or has left the relationship. Financial abuse, while less commonly understood, is one of the most powerful methods of keeping a survivor trapped in an abusive relationship and deeply diminishes her ability to stay safe after leaving an abusive relationship. Research indicates that financial abuse is experienced in 98% of abusive relationships and surveys of survivors reflect that concerns over their ability to provide financially for themselves and their children was one of the top reason for staying in or returning to a battering relationship. Have a look at tradersbible.com binary options trading website for more advice on how to manage finance. As with all forms of abuse, it occurs across all socio-economic, educational and racial and ethnic groups.

Forms of Financial Abuse

As with other forms of abuse, financial abuse may begin subtly and progress over time. It may even look like love initially as abusers have the capacity to appear very charming and are masterful at manipulation. For example, the abuser may make statements such as “I know you’re under a lot of stress right now so why don’t you just let me take care of the finances and I’ll give you money each week to take care of what you need.” Under these circumstances, the survivor may believe that she should or can trust the partner she is in love with and may willingly give over control of the money and how it is spent. This scenario commonly leads to the batterer giving the survivor less and less in “allowance” and by the time she decides she wants to take back control of the finances, she discovers that the accounts have all been moved or she no longer has knowledge or access to the family funds.

In other cases, the financial abuse may be much more overt. Batterers commonly use violence or threats of violence and intimidation to keep the survivor from working or having access to the family funds. Whether subtle or overt, there are common methods that batterers use to gain financial control over their partner. These include:

  • Forbidding the survivor to work
  • Sabotaging work or employment opportunities by stalking or harassing the survivor at the workplace or causing the survivor to lose her job by physically battering prior to important meetings or interviews
  • Controlling how all of the money is spent
  • Not allowing the survivor access to bank accounts
  • Withholding money or giving “an allowance”
  • Not including the survivor in investment or banking decisions
  • Forbidding the survivor from attending job training or advancement opportunities
  • Forcing the survivor to write bad checks or file fraudulent tax returns
  • Running up large amounts of debt on joint accounts
  • Refusing to work or contribute to the family income
  • Withholding funds for the survivor or children to obtain basic needs such as food and medicine
  • Hiding assets
  • Stealing the survivor’s identity, property or inheritance
  • Forcing the survivor to work in a family business without pay
  • Refusing to pay bills and ruining the survivors’ credit score
  • Forcing the survivor to turn over public benefits or threatening to turn the survivor in for “cheating or misusing benefits”
  • Filing false insurance claims
  • Refusing to pay or evading child support or manipulating the divorce process by drawing it out by hiding or not disclosing assets

The Impact of Financial Abuse

The short and long term effects of financial abuse can be devastating. In the short term, access to assets is imperative to staying safe. Without assets, survivors are often unable to obtain safe and affordable housing or the funds to provide for themselves or their children. With realistic fears of homelessness, it is little wonder that survivors sometimes return to the battering relationship.

For those who manage to escape the abuse and survive initially, they often face overwhelming odds in obtaining long term security and safety. Ruined credit scores, sporadic employment histories and legal issues caused by the battering make it extremely difficult to gain independence, safety and long term security.2

2http://nnedv.org/resources/ejresources/about-financial-abuse.html

 

  1. Moving Ahead Through Financial Management Curriculum: NNEDV and The Allstate Foundation’s Economic Justice Curriculum

    Arguably the most widely used financial literacy curriculum by domestic violence advocates, the Allstate Foundation’s Moving Ahead Through Financial Management is the curriculum of choice for advocates of Florida’s certified domestic violence centers. Five of Florida’s programs are funded by Allstate and use the curriculum, however, they adapt the content to fit the unique and varied needs of the survivors each center is working with. NNEDV and Allstate are currently updating the current version which is available at the following links. (The new version will be added to this site as soon as it is released.)

    For more information, contact Kim Pentico, NNEDV’s Director of the Economic Justice Program at 202-543-5566 ext. 108, KPentico@nnedv.org or contact NNEDV directly at: nnedv.org.

    Moving Ahead Through Financial Management Curriculum

    English

     

    Spanish

     

    Moving Ahead Through Financial Management Brochures

    Moving Ahead Through Financial Management Power Point Presentations

    English

    Spanish

  2. Your L.I.F.E. (Learn Individual Financial Empowerment)

    In honor of 2015’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Florida Department of Financial Services, in partnership with the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, created the Your L.I.F.E. (Learn Individual Financial Empowerment) Initiative.

    Your L.I.F.E. is a web-based campaign designed to empower and assist survivors of domestic violence by providing financial resources and information to raise awareness and increase financial literacy. This user-friendly resource includes information on:

    • Banking
    • Credit and Debt
    • Saving
    • Financial Safety

    In addition, advocates may download the campaign’s manual and click to learn useful tips on how to protect someone from financial abuse.

    "It takes true courage and strength to take a stand against domestic violence and I ask Floridians to stand with me. Everyone deserves to hold their financial future in their own hands, and by empowering survivors of domestic violence to gain fiscal independence, we hope to help end financial abuse." Jeff Atwater, Chief Financial Officer

    http://www.myfloridacfo.com/YMM/YourLIFE/

  3. Alianza’s ¡Sí Podemos! Yes We Can/Beyond Domestic Violence: Achieving Financial Independence This curriculum contains practical tools for Latina survivors that are working on or reflecting about achieving their financial independence. A Trainer’s Guide for facilitators is also provided. http://www.dvalianza.org/financial-independence-resources/560-training-video.html
  4. Yes We Can/Beyond Domestic Violence: Achieving Financial Independence Trainer’s Guide Financial Independence for Latina Survivors of Domestic Violence http://www.dvalianza.org/financial-independence.html

 

Domestic Violence Center Advocates should incorporate financial safety planning into their day-to-day interactions with survivors. The New York City Domestic Violence Economic Justice Taskforce’s Financial Development subcommittee created a helpful too that helps advocates start important dialogues about financial security with survivors. By including a few of these screening questions when safety planning with survivors, advocates can recognize financial issues, make appropriate referrals, and help survivors take action steps to gain control of their financial lives. The tool is designed for survivors who are living with the abuser or living independently. Questions and actions to consider are categorized as Safety Screening, Financial Abuse, and/or Gaining Control.3

Here is the link to the tool: http://thefinancialclinic.org/wpcontent/uploads/2015/08/Financial-Safety-Planning-Guide-for-Domestic-Violence-DV-Service-Providers.pdf

Here are additional tips to consider when talking with survivors about financial safety planning:

  • Use a different bank branch, one the abuser is unaware of.
  • Go to the bank at various times, including ATM locations.
  • Add a password on all financial accounts including, but not limited to: utility bills, telephone bills, cable bills, etc.
  • If the abuser insists that they have an account together, survivors should be encouraged to have a secondary account that the abuser knows nothing about. Remember that if the abuser insists on seeing pay stubs, direct deposits to the secondary account may show up.
  • Keep limited cash on hand to prevent the abuser from taking it.
  • Encourage the survivor to have financial mail sent paperless to an email address only the survivor knows about. If the financial institution has to be able to send financial statements via U.S. Postal service, encourage the survivor to use the P.O. Box.
  • Survivors may want to place a security pin from the IRS on their social security number as well as dependent children.
  • Encourage survivors to pull their credit report to ensure no fraudulent accounts exist.
  • Encourage survivors not to carry their social security cards, birth certificates, or bank ledgers with them unless they have a purpose and need the documentation with them.

The following article titled, “Types of Abuse” is another great resource that describes the creative ways abusers use finances as a tactic of abuse. Advocates may practice financial safety planning by considering what they may say to a survivor after disclosing the below tactics. The article can also be found at https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/loans/student-loans/domestic-violence/.

Preventing the survivor from earning or keeping an income: The abuser may simply demand that their survivor not work, or they may sabotage her efforts at finding or keeping a job. If the survivor is employed, the abuser may take her wages by force, or spend it without her permission.

Making the survivor account for every penny she spends: Abusers may require their survivors to provide receipts for every single purchase, account for all credit card transactions, or get permission for any purchase they wish to make, no matter how small. If the abuser decides that the survivor has lied to him or purchased something without permission, he may “punish” her. This type of situation can easily escalate into verbal or physical abuse.

Denying survivor access to money or other financial resources: The abuser may prevent the survivor from accessing her accounts, or he may keep bank accounts or credit cards hidden from her. In more extreme cases, they may not let the survivor have her own bank account, or require that she keep her money exclusively in joint accounts that he controls.

Running up debt on a joint credit card: If they have bad credit, abusers may piggyback on a credit card account belonging to their spouse or child to continue their bad spending habits. Debt or missed payments will lower the credit scores of all account signers, not just the person who incurred the debt. Some abusers use this to their advantage and ruin their survivors’ credit scores in the process.

Insisting all the household accounts are in the survivor’s name: This is another way for abusers to avoid accountability for reckless spending behavior. If the abuser controls the money and is unable to afford the payments, the survivor is held responsible.

Not permitting the survivor to spend money on themselves or their children: Abusers may set strict limits on how money is to be spent in the house, and may not allow any money for the survivor or her children. Alternatively, an abuser may spend money budgeted for household necessities, such as food, diapers, or cleaning supplies, on themselves.

Forcing survivor to beg or commit crimes for money: Abusers may force their survivor to resort to other means to make money, either by force or by leaving them with no other options.

Draining the survivor’s funds with legal fees: An abuser may take advantage of the civil court process to drag out divorce, order of protection or child custody proceedings, forcing the survivor to essentially keep a lawyer on retainer. This financial hemorrhaging can be detrimental, especially to a single parent.

  • Use a different bank branch, not the one the abuser has knowledge of her frequenting.
  • Go to the bank at various times. Going to a different branch at the same time may still be unsafe. This goes for ATM locations as well.
  • Survivors should place a password on all financial accounts including, but not limited to: utility bills, telephone bills, cable bills, etc.
  • If the abuser insists that they have an account together, survivors should be encouraged to have a secondary account that the abuser knows nothing about. If the abuser demands to see paystubs and see’s money going to another account, encourage the survivor to get a safe deposit box.
  • Keep limited cash on hand to prevent the abuser from taking it. (Police don’t usually interfere with civil matters, so if the survivor called the police, they may not be able to assist. The survivor may be encouraged to file a police report.
  • Encourage the survivor to have financial mail sent paperless to an email address only the survivor knows about. If the financial institution has to be able to send financial statements via U.S. Postal service, encourage the survivor to use the P.O. Box.
  • Survivors may want to place a security pin from the IRS on their social security number as well as dependent children.
  • Encourage survivors to pull their credit report to ensure no fraudulent accounts exist.
  • Encourage survivors not to carry their social security cards, birth certificates, or bank ledgers with them unless they have a purpose and need that documentation.
  • Survivors should be encouraged not to provide any information to callers claiming to need credit/debit card numbers, account information, and/or personal identification information.

3Financial Safety Planning: Best Practices for Domestic Violence Service Providers. (n.d.). Retrieved June 27, 2016, from http://thefinancialclinic.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Financial-Safet...

 

According to NNEDV, domestic violence is a leading cause of homelessness for women and children in the United States and a lack of affordable housing options is regularly reported by survivors as a primary barrier to escaping abuse.4 In fact, studies show that women are more likely to stay in unsafe situations because of their inability to find other housing.5 A study of 3,400 shelter residents in domestic violence programs across eight states found that housing is one of the main needs identified by survivors at the time of shelter entry; 84% participants reported that they needed help with finding affordable housing.6

A Florida study examining the experience of violence among 800 homeless women found that a significant number of women were survivors in their lifetime, and almost one-quarter of the women indicated that violence was one, if not the main reason they were homeless. Approximately one homeless woman in four is homeless mainly because of her experiences with violence.7

One of the first steps for survivors escaping violence is finding a safe place to live, and domestic violence shelters offer safe spaces for survivors to determine their next steps. Emergency shelter, transitional housing, and affordable housing are critical in helping survivors permanently escape violence and increase their economic stability.8

To assist advocates with resources and to increase advocates understanding of the lack of affordable housing for survivors of domestic violence, the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence’s VAWnet.org assembled a special collection that may be found at: http://vawnet.org/special-collections/DVHousing.php#200. Another useful site for additional information on the topic is NNEDV’s Housing Toolkit found at: http://nnedv.org/resources/transitional-housing.html

A strategy some domestic violence centers across the state are employing to support survivors with affordable housing is referred to as “Rapid Re-Housing. The following information was provided by Harbor House of Central Florida and describes what rapid re-housing is, its core components, practice considerations, and important questions to consider when implementing rapid re-housing programming.

Housing First

Rapid Re-Housing

Rapid re-housing is an intervention, informed by a Housing First approach that is a critical part of a community’s effective homeless crisis response system. Rapid re-housing rapidly connects families and individuals experiencing homelessness to permanent housing through a tailored package of assistance that may include the use of time-limited financial assistance and targeted supportive services. Rapid rehousing programs help families and individuals living on the streets or in emergency shelters solve the practical and immediate challenges to obtaining permanent housing while reducing the amount of time they experience homelessness, avoiding a near-term return to homelessness, and linking to community resources that enable them to achieve housing stability in the long-term. Rapid re-housing is an important component of a community’s response to homelessness. A fundamental goal of rapid-rehousing is to reduce the amount of time a person is homeless.

Rapid re-housing models were implemented across the country through the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program (HPRP), included as part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) of 2009. Through this national implementation experience, rapid re-housing programs were found to be a highly successful and cost-effective way to end homelessness for a wide range of households experiencing homelessness. The intervention model is premised in the following ideas:

  • Although they may have many additional challenges and service needs, the majority of families and individuals experiencing homelessness become homeless due to a financial crisis or other crisis that leads to the loss of housing. Addressing homelessness for these households primarily entails addressing their housing barriers to help them return to permanent housing.
  • Most families experiencing homelessness are not significantly different in characteristics from other poor families. Most have had recent experience living in permanent housing, and can return and remain housed without long- term supportive services. This intervention focuses on identifying the building upon the strengths of families to maintain their own housing.
  • Prolonged exposure to homelessness has a significant negative effect on adults and children – the longer a household experiences homelessness, the poorer the outcomes will likely be in a variety of areas. Therefore, the length of time a household experiences homelessness should be minimized by helping them return to permanent housing as quickly as possible upon becoming homeless. Households should be assisted to exit homelessness and obtain permanent housing as soon as possible rather than remain homeless while awaiting a vacancy in another program.

    Although access to affordable housing is an effective way to ensure long-term housing stability among households experiencing homelessness, affordable housing resources currently fall far short of the need. Short-term assistance – including financial assistance, housing search assistance, and targeted services – has shown tremendous promise in resolving the immediate crisis of homelessness for many families and preventing their future returns to homeless.

  • Resources are limited and should be used most efficiently to ensure that assistance can be provided to the greatest number of people experiencing homelessness. An operating principle that households should receive “just enough” assistance to successfully exit homelessness and avoid returning to the streets, other places not meant for human habitation, and emergency shelters. Longer-term and more costly programs like permanent supportive housing should be reserved for those individuals and families who need this level of assistance to exit homelessness and remain housed.

Target Populations

Rapid re-housing is an effective intervention for many different types of households experiencing homelessness, including those with no income, with disabilities, and with poor rental history. The majority of households experiencing homelessness are good candidates for rapid re-housing. The only exceptions are households that can exit homelessness with little or no assistance, those who experience chronic homelessness and who need permanent supportive housing, and households who are seeking a therapeutic residential environment, including those recovering from addiction.

Rapid Re-Housing’s Effectiveness

Research suggests that rapid re-housing is more cost-effective than transitional housing. The long-term impacts of rapid re-housing are still being studied, but initial research indicates that people assisted by rapid re-housing experience higher rates of permanent housing placement and similar or lower rates of return to homelessness after the assistance ends compared to shoe assisted by transitional housing or who only receive emergency shelter. In and of itself, rapid re-housing is not designed to comprehensively address all of a recipient’s service needs or their poverty. Instead, rapid re-housing solves the immediate crisis of homelessness, while connecting families or individuals with appropriate community resources to address other service needs.

Core Program Components and Practice Considerations

Rapid re-housing interventions assist households experiencing homelessness by helping them move directly into permanent housing in the community using whichever combination of financial assistance and housing-focused serves are needed and desired by the household. Rapid re-housing has core programmic components and practice considerations which are described below. While a rapid re-housing program must have all three core components available, it is not required that a single entity provide all three services nor that a household utilize them all.

Useful Resources on Rapid Re-housing 

National Alliance to End Homelessness  http://www.endhomelessness.org/ 

  • Rapid Re-housing – Creating Programs that Work – A guide to assist communities in rapid re-housing implementation.
  • Rapid Re-housing Training – Five short modules developed by the Center for Capacity Building that break down the basic elements of the intervention.
  • Rapid Re-housing: A History and Core Components – A brief paper describing background, research, and three core components of rapid re-housing.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs http://www.va.gov/

Research  The following research articles and related publications provide supportive evidence for why communities should increase the availability of Rapid Re-housing assistance and the efficacy of the Rapid Re-housing model.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (2012). Research on Homelessness Prevention and Repaid Re-housing.  https://www.hudexchange.info/resources/documents/PreventionRRHResearch.pdf

  • This document provides an annotated list of select research on homelessness prevention and Rapid Re-housing. It includes research from the State of Michigan; Hennepin County, MN; and New York, NY.

Culhane, D.P. & Metraux, S. (2008). Rearranging the Deck Chairs or Reallocating the Lifeboats? Homelessness Assistance and Its Alternatives. Journal of the American Planning Association, 74(1):111-121.

  • This article uses research on homelessness to devise alternative forms of emergency assistance that could reduce the prevalence and/or duration of episodes of homelessness and much of the need for emergency shelter.

National Alliance to End Homelessness. Rapid Re-housing Successes. http://www.endhomelessness.org/library/entry/rapid-re-housing-successes

  • This interactive mapping tool highlights areas in which communities were able to successfully place families in permanent housing at encouraging levels. The map describes the number of families affected, the average cost of assistance, and the positive results stemming from that assistance.

Rodriquez, J. (2013). Homelessness Recurrence in Georgia: Descriptive Statistics, Risk Factors, and Contextualized Outcome Measurement.  http://www.dca.state.ga.us/housing/specialneeds/programs/downloads/HomelessnessRecurrenceInGeorgia.pdf

  • This report analyzes risk factors for a later recurrence of homelessness among persons served over a year by programs reporting data into Georgia’s Homeless Management Information System (HMIS). The study found that of 21 variables the top risk factors of returning to homelessness were an absence of Rapid Re-housing enrollment and having a history of homelessness in HMIS.

4http://nnedv.org/resources/transitional-housing.html5McCracken, M. (n.d.). Women Need Safe, Stable, Affordable Housing. Retrieved March 26, 2016, from http://www.pwhce.ca/pdf/safeHousingComplete.pdf6Source: Lyon, E., Lane, S., & Menard, A. (2008). Meeting Survivors’ needs: A multi-state study of domestic violence shelter experiences. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice.7Jasinski, J. L., Wesely, J. K., Mustaine, E., & Wright, J. D. (2005, November). The Experience of Violence in the Lives of Homeless Women: A Research Report. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice.8Domestic Violence Counts: Economic Stability for Survivors. (n.d.). Retrieved May 05, 2016, from http://nnedv.org/downloads/Census/DVCounts2013/DVCounts13_EconomicJusticeSummary.pdf

 

 

Personal safety and economic security are inextricably linked for survivors of domestic violence. For many survivors, concerns over their ability to provide financially for themselves and their children are a significant reason for staying in or returning to an abusive relationship. 1

Advocates have an important responsibility to keep up with local employment opportunities and to build relationships with employment-related agencies in their community. Here are some tips for helping survivors gain employment from Peace River Center’s Economic Justice Advocate, Ta’Nike Ellington.

Note: Prior to survivors seeking employment, always offer safety planning and an assessment of lethality.

Assisting Survivors with Gaining Employment

1)   Building Partnerships

  1. Advocates should build partnerships with their local workforce board and take full advantage of TANF. Advocates should inform workforce board and TANF employees of the barriers survivors face and how difficult it may be to travel to appointments or complete work study hours. Suggest that they allow survivors to use the hours they use for job searching toward their work study hours.
  2. Advocates should attend employment and career fairs to network with potential employers and staffing agencies.
  3. Advocates should also build partnerships with their local housing authorities’ Financial Self-Sufficiency Program.

2)   Assist Survivors with Preparing for Interviews

  1. Be creative – Arrange an advocacy trip with group attendees to local thrift stores to find interview/work clothing.
  2. Offer creative group activities such as survivors using magazines to put together an outfit suitable for a job interview.
  3. Contact the local workforce board to inquire about “Career Closets.”

3)   Provide interview tips and techniques:

  1. Use the Allstate Foundation’s Moving Ahead Career Empowerment Curriculum for ideas.
  2. Discuss interviewing skills with survivors during employment-related group sessions.
  3. Provide information on workplace safety.
  4. Encourage survivors who have criminal records to attend the Ex-Offender program at the local workforce board. They assist with: Job Search, Federal Bonding, secrets for a positive job interview, and much more for job seekers overcoming criminal histories.
  5. Designed exclusively for ex-offenders, encourage survivors to attend the “Fresh Start Workshop”.

Topics include:

  • Realities of the Job Market for Ex-Offenders.
  • What can we do for you?
  • “Mythbusters”
  • Education and Training
  • Cash Assistance, Food Stamps, Unemployment, etc.
  • Veterans’ Issues
  • Federal Bonding
  • Identifying Your Job Skills
  • Employ Florida Marketplace Registration and Resume Building
  • Employ Florida Job Search and Online Applications
  • Polk Works Job Referrals
  • The Secrets to a Positive Job Interview
  • The Ex-Offender “Turn Around” Interview
  • The Top Ten Interview Questions
  • The Importance of Networking
  • Targeting
  • The Cold Call Job Search
  • The All Important Follow-up
  • Job Retention

Helping Survivors Build their Resume

1)   Encourage survivors to consider safety while building their resume. For example, what contact information should she use? Possibly only name and email address. If a survivor isn’t comfortable using her personal phone number on the resume, assist her with setting up a Google voice number. Consider blocking the number once it is set up.

2)   If a survivor does not have experience working outside of her home, she may use volunteer experience or other related experience. For example, time management skills would be something most survivors possess as a result of scheduling their and their children’s lives such as to doctor’s appointments, sports activities and other daily activities.  If the survivor has multiple children, most likely the survivor has used conflict resolution skills to deescalate disputes with her children.

3)   www.onetonline.org is a great resource for building a work-ready resume. It provides job descriptions with requirements, skills, education, rate of pay, etc.

4)   Encourage survivors to keep their resume on a flash drive for easy access to edit, and/or print.

5)   Resumes need to reflect the position the survivor is applying for according to the specifications of the job posting by the employer. For example, skills required by the employer in the job announcement states that they need someone who has great communication skills, excellent conflict resolution skills, has the ability to lift 25 lbs, and has typing skills of at least 40-45 words per minute (wpm). If the survivor’s resume does not list most of the above, the resume will score low. “Stack profiling” is frequently used by employers, so if a survivor neglects to include the skills she possesses that match up with the announcement, her resume will be filed on the bottom of the stack. This applies to electronic submissions.

1Domestic Violence Counts: Economic Stability for Survivors. (n.d.). Retrieved May 05, 2016, from http://nnedv.org/downloads/Census/DVCounts2013/DVCounts13_EconomicJustic...

 

Credit is often referred to as borrowed money from a lender who trusts that you will repay the debt in full plus any associated interest fees. Although using and repaying credit may seem easy, it is important to be careful with how you use credit. If not careful, misuse of credit can lead to high debt.1 As a tactic of abuse, abusers may open credit cards in the survivor’s name and run up the balances with no intent to repay the debt. This will negatively impact a survivor’s credit.

The following excerpt from Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater’s Your L.I.F.E. (Learn Individual Financial Empowerment) website includes valuable information about credit. The Your L.I.F.E. web-based campaign was designed to empower and assist those who have overcome domestic violence and financial abuse to be financially independent. Your L.I.F.E. provides financial resources and information to raise awareness and increase financial literacy. The entire campaign, including resources and worksheets may be found at: http://www.myfloridacfo.com/YMM/YourLIFE/

Why is good credit important? When you are trying to purchase a car or home, lenders look at how good your credit is and make their decision based on your credit score and credit history. Your credit history lets lenders, landlords and employers know how you have managed your money in the past. It helps them decide whether or not to take a monetary risk on you.

What is a credit score? Before you are offered a line of credit from a lender, they must determine how risky it would be to offer you credit. Amounts owed on accounts and how often you pay off your debts are factors in deciding how much risk is involved. Lenders prefer higher credit scores because they involve less risk. Lower credit scores typically indicate poor debt management. It may be risky for a lender to offer a line of credit to someone with a lower credit score because their score indicates they may not manage their credit well and the lender may never be paid back.

Credit Cards Credit cards offer many advantages. They offer you the convenience of being able to make purchases with the security of not having to carry cash. When you use a credit card, you are essentially borrowing money from a bank or financial institution with the promise to repay it in a month when the credit card bill arrives.

Tips to Avoid and Reduce Credit and Debt

  • Understand how credit works, its benefits and how it can be impacted negatively and positively.
  • Keep track of your spending to ensure you can repay your credit card bill in full when due each month.
  • When searching for a credit card, compare interest rates.
  • Check your credit report and credit score often.
  • A credit report gives a detailed summary of your financial history and credit usage and is used to determine your credit score.
  • By following the tips above, you can protect your credit score, resulting in better interest rates on credit cards, lower insurance premiums and more financial flexibility.
  • Make sure to review your credit report at least once per year. More than 13 million people a year find inaccuracies on their credit reports.

Credit Basics

Source:  National Association of Certified Credit Counselors http://fcnonline.org/

  1. Credit Score:  a credit score is a snapshot of a person’s credit risk picture at a particular point in time.
  2. Credit report:  details credit history as it has been reported to the credit reporting agency by the lenders who have extended consumer credit.
  3. FICO score is calculated by the five main categories of information received:
    1. Payment History 35% of FICO score.  Lenders want to know has this person paid their creditors on time.
    2. Amounts owed 30% of FICO score.  How much is too much?  Takes into consideration how many accounts have balances, amount owed on all accounts, and how much total credit is being used on credit cards.
    3. Length of Credit History 15% of FICO score.  How established is an individual’s credit history?  How long has it been since certain accounts were used, and how long have the credit accounts have been established?
    4. New Credit is 10% of the FICO score.  Is an individual taking on more debt?  Recent requests for new credit.
    5. Types of Credit in use is 10% of FICO score.  Is it a healthy mix?  Mix of credit cards, retail accounts, installment loans, and finance company accounts.
  4. Credit Reporting Agencies:
    1. Experian
    2. TransUnion and TransUnion Canada
    3. Equifax and Equifax Canada
  5. FICO score names:
    1. Experian/ Fair, Isaac Risk Model
    2. Empirca
    3. Beacon
  6. Understanding Predatory Lending.  Discourage survivors from taking out payday advance loans, pawn shop loans, and internet loans.  Predatory lenders charge excessive fees, and makes it difficult for survivors to pay the loans back without incurring more debt.
    1. Frequent refinancing
    2. Ability to pay is disregarded
    3. Payment history is not reported
    4. Balloon mortgages
    5. Exorbitant fees

Credit as a Tool for Survivors to Achieve Financial Independence

  1. Encourage survivors to pay themselves 10% of their income.  This will encourage survivors to stick with the monies they have paid themselves for eating out, and purchasing wants vs. needs.
  2. Provide spending plans vs. budget worksheets.  The spending plan seems more appealing, because the survivor is calculating how much is available to spend, pay bills, and save.
  3. Positive debt-to-income ratio.  Assist survivor with assessing the amount of bills they have and the amount of income they have coming it to ensure they are not underemployed or living above their means.
  4. Encourage the survivor to Economize. 
    1. Substitute products or services for less costly alternatives.
    2. Conserve resources to get the most out of them, avoid waste, and use what you have efficiently.
    3. Cooperate with others to reduce expenses. (carpooling)
    4. Utilize community resources.  (food banks, picnic at a park verses spending money on an outing)
  5. Spending Percentage Guide
    1. Housing no more than 25-35% of income
    2. Savings no more than 5-15% of income
    3. Utilities no more than 5-10% of income
    4. Food no more than 5-10% of income
    5. Transportation no more than 10-15% of income
    6. Clothing no more than 2-7% of income
    7. Medical/Health no more than 5-10% of income
    8. Personal no more than 5-10% of income
    9. Recreation no more than 5-10% of income
    10. Miscellaneous no more than 2-5% of income
    11. Unsecured debt no more than 5-10% of income

1http://www.myfloridacfo.com/YMM/YourLIFE/CreditAndDebt.aspx

 

FCADV’s Economic Justice Workgroup members have compiled the following considerations for advocates implementing economic empowerment programming.

Partnerships The most successful economic empowerment programs recognize the importance of collaborating with local community-based partners that have the skills and access to resources to assist survivors of domestic violence. Here is a list of potential partners in your community:

  • Banks and Bankers
  • Workforce Boards
  • Temp Agencies
  • Life Skills Coaches
  • Educators
  • Tutors
  • GED Programs
  • Agencies that offer Scholarship Opportunities to Potential Students
  • Job Readiness Programs
  • Resume Consultants
  • Dress for Success Programs

Creating Buy-in for Your Program

  • Offer Food at Classes
  • Offer Child Care during Meetings and Classes
  • Offer Incentives such as Donations, Drawings, Gift Cards, Gifts for Successful Completion of the Program
  • Hold Meetings On-site When Possible
  • Offer Bus Passes if Transportation is an Issue

Tips on What Not to Do

  • Be careful with your words. Finances are intimidating, so use language that encourages survivor participation. Use words like “agreements” instead of “rules” and create agreements based on survivor input.
  • Always instill empowerment-based advocacy in all aspects of economic justice work.
  • All economic empowerment programming MUST be voluntary
  • Do not create stringent requirements that may be unattainable. For example, allow participants to rejoin the program if they need to temporarily drop out. Create a flexible environment.

 

This Economic Empowerment Advocate’s Toolkit, was created by FCADV staff and the FCADV Economic Justice Workgroup.

FCADV Economic Justice Workgroup members include Economic Empowerment Advocates, Executive Directors, and other staff members of several of Florida’s certified domestic violence centers. Without their contributions this valuable resource would not exist. Workgroup members met throughout the 2015-16 fiscal year in person, via conference call, and through electronic communication to share ideas, resources, and wisdom on how best to offer financial empowerment programming for survivors of domestic violence receiving emergency shelter or outreach services through a certified domestic violence center.

FCADV thanks the following Workgroup members for their immeasurable contributions and support:

  • Ta’Nika Ellington, Peace River Center, Lakeland, FL
  • Maylen Garcia, Shelter for Abused Women and Children, Naples, FL
  • Rosalyn Iovieno, Shelter House, Ft. Walton Beach, FL
  • Cynthia Ivey, Housing Program Coordinator
  • Jodie Kalmus, Harbor House, Orlando, FL
  • Tessy Lacroix, AVDA, Delray Beach, Florida
  • Sherrie Schwab, Peace River Center, Lakeland, FL
  • Vranerlie Valcin, Harbor House, Orlando, FL
  • Vanessia Washington, Resource/Rapid Re-Housing Coordinator
  • Trish White, Peaceful Paths Domestic Abuse Network, Gainesville, FL

THANK YOU FCADV ECONOMIC JUSTICE WORKGROUP MEMBERS!

FCADV and FCADV’s Economic Justice Workgroup also thank Kim Pentico, NNEDV’s Director of the Economic Justice Program and The Allstate Foundation. We are forever grateful for your leadership and advocacy on behalf of survivors of domestic violence. THANK YOU!

 

The following key terms and definitions may be found in the Allstate Foundation's Moving Ahead Through Financial Management curriculum in the "Glossary" section.

Annual Percentage Rate: The interest rate on a loan. The lower the APR, the lower the amount of interest you’ll pay.

Assets: Attributes someone possesses that are valuable – including higher education or special skills – as well as valuable objects someone owns, including a car, house, small business or savings account.

Balance: The amount of money you have in a checking or savings account. With a checking account, it’s important to figure out (or “balance”) exactly how much money you have by comparing your check register to your statement.

Budget: A plan you create for controlling spending and encouraging saving.

Check: A check is a written order for your financial institution to pay someone with money from your checking account.

Credit History: A record of your borrowing and paying habits. Credit reporting companies track your history and supply this information to credit card companies, banks and other lenders.

Credit Rating: A score assigned by three major credit bureaus that indicates how likely you are to pay back a loan on time. The rating is based on your credit report, a detailed list of your past transactions with creditors. Most information remains on your credit report for seven years, although a bankruptcy will remain for 10 years.

Debt: Money you’ve borrowed from a lender. In addition to paying back the money borrowed, you almost always have to pay interest. The rate of interest charged on your debt affects how you should approach paying it off. Credit card debts generally carry the highest rates (sometimes more than 20 percent) and should be paid off first. You can pay off debts with lower rates, like most student loans (5 to 10 percent) more slowly, even while saving.

Deposit: Any combination of cash or checks put into a checking or savings account.

Diversify: Spreading the money you invest into different types of investments, including bonds, stocks, CDs and mutual funds. The idea is to avoid putting all of your eggs in one basket, since different kinds of investments do well in different kinds of economic climates. If one type of investment drops in value, the other types should hold or increase their value.

Economic Literacy: A strategy that educates individuals about economics and finances, with the goal of assisting low-income families in their efforts to attain economic independence.

Financial Abuse: A tactic used by abusers to control survivors by preventing access to money or other financial resources. It occurs when an individual attempts to take total or partial control of another person’s financial resources, including money, property, an inheritance or employment income.

Finance Charge: A fee you pay when you don’t pay off your entire credit card debt within a single payment period (usually 25 to 28 days).

Gross Income: The amount of money you earn before it is reduced by federal and state taxes, FICA and any other automatic payouts.

Individual Development Accounts (IDA): A matched savings account that is similar to IRA or 401(k) retirement savings accounts. Sources for IDA matching funds include community organization, foundations, financial institutions, businesses, government grants and private contributors. Matching funds are typically reserved for high-return investments including home ownership, small business development and post-secondary education or training. IDA programs are a key strategy for helping low-to-moderate-income survivors of domestic violence attain assets and increase economic security.

Interest: The amount paid by a borrower to a lender for the privilege of borrowing money.

Individual Retirement Account (IDA): This tax-advantaged investment comes in two types: traditional and Roth. In a traditional IRA, you can contribute money on a pre-tax basis and it is taxed when you withdraw it upon retirement. In a Roth IRA, you pay taxes on the money you contribute to your account, after which it is never taxed again.

Micro-enterprise: A small business that employs five or fewer people and can be started with less than $25,000 in capital.

Micro-enterprise Development: An anti-poverty strategy that provides specialized services and training to low-income people interested in entrepreneurship. Micro-enterprise development programs are typically operated by nonprofit agencies that provide training and technical assistance, credit or access to credit and market access.

Public Assistance: Money granted from the state/federal government to a person or family for living expenses. Eligibility is based on need.

Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF): Assistance payments made on behalf of children who don’t have the financial support of one of their parents by reason of death, disability or continued absence from the home. The program provides parents with job preparation, work and support services to help them become self-sufficient.

 

Courtesy of VAWnet.org’s National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women found at: http://vawnet.org/special-collections/DVCreditAssets.php

Acronym and Abbreviation Key Organizational, legislative, and trade-related acronyms and terms contained in the annotated entries of this special collection. AEO - Association for Enterprise Opportunity AFIA - Assets for Independence Act AFI - Assets for Independence program AICCCA – Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies BCSDV – Building Comprehensive Solutions to Domestic Violence CDAs - Child Development Accounts CFA – Consumer Federation of America CFED - Center for Enterprise Development CRA – Community Reinvestment Act or Credit Reporting Agency CRL – Center for Responsible Lending CROA – Credit Repair Organizations Act CSD - Center for Social Development DHHS - United States Department of Health and Human Services DMP – Debt management plan ECOA – Equal Credit Opportunity Act FACTA – Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act FCRA – Fair Credit Reporting Act FICO – Fair Isaac & Company FTC – Federal Trade Commission HMDA – Home Mortgage Disclosure Act IDA - Individual Development Accounts ISED - Institute for Social Economic Development NCADV - National Coalition Against Domestic Violence NCLC – National Consumer Law Center NCRC – National Community Reinvestment Coalition NCSL – National Conference of State Legislatures NDI - National Disability Institute NFCC – National Foundation for Credit Counseling NRCDV – National Resource Center on Domestic Violence OCS - Office of Community Services, DHHS SCHIP - State Children's Health Insurance Program SEED - Saving for Education, Entrepreneurship, and Down payment SSDI - Social Security Disability Insurance SSI - Supplemental Security Income SSN – Social Security Number TANF - Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

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