Written by Breanna Hardy
Poverello House has partnered with Bank of America to deliver financial tools to “set up residents for success.”
Through a quarterly course, Bank of America teaches Better Money Habits to men in the Poverello House Residential Rehabilitation Program.
Marisa Moore, Fresno/Visalia market executive with Bank of America, said Better Money Habits partners with schools and nonprofits to deliver the curriculum. The bank has partnered with Poverello House since February.
The workshop breaks down the basics of banking, financial independence and making smart financial decisions. The topics can be expanded on to topics such as buying a house, paying off debt and saving for college or retirement.
“They came to us and said they wanted to offer financial literacy for their Men’s Rehabilitation Program that they have within Poverello House,” Moore said.
The goal is to create independence for the men that come through the program so they can make wise decisions that keep them out of debt after they leave.
“A lot of people who go through a homeless shelter program or other types of programs – they’re not always set up for success. But what the Poverello House is doing is providing them all of the tools to be successful upon their exit of Poverello House,” Moore said.
Gavin Larson, job developer at Poverello House, said that financial literacy is something the nonprofit has always encouraged.
“Recovery is so multifaceted,” he said.
The nonprofit homeless shelter cares for people by distributing food, and offering shelter and social services. The Residential Rehabilitation Program offers a safe place for men with a history of drug abuse who have no income but are physically able to work. The program is six months to a year.
Recovery from drug abuse includes repairing family relationships and investing in career development. Larson said that personal finance, another key to recovery, is often an overlooked component of healing. Some have never received a paycheck, can’t decipher what deductions mean on a paycheck or have learned how to budget and save money.
In Poverello House’s transitional living facilities, part of the requirements to live there are to work and save money.
There’s a lot of potential for failure after walking away with $10,000 to $20,000 after saving every penny, Larson said. But after taking the financial literacy class, residents have left being able to purchase a car with a low interest rate, and have learned how to avoid money traps, like paying too much interest.
“Anybody can agree that credit and credit score is – it’s absolutely necessary in this day and age,” Larson said.
A lot of the residents come with debt and they’re able to pay off that debt in a smart way, he added.
Bank of America has been a good support to Poverello House, Larson said. Poverello House renovated the homeless shelter in 2020 and he said the bank was a big part of making that happen.
“We appreciate their sponsorship throughout the years, but for them to take it a step further and provide the class for our guys, it’s amazing,” said Larson.
The Better Money Habits materials are available to everyone through Bank of America’s website, with no affiliation with a school or nonprofit organization needed.