Financial Empowerment

Although a person’s ability to manage financial matters should be considered a key determinant for personal economic security, financial education is rarely addressed by current social support systems, which are not mandated to assist low income individuals through financial empowerment strategies (Fair & Simbandumwe, 2017).

Financial empowerment strategies are concerned with both the root causes of poverty and financial outcomes for individuals and families living with low income. Because of this, they have been shown to effect long-term financial change, including improved credit ratings, increased savings and income, and reduced levels of debt. When financial matters such as these are addressed, access to routes out of poverty—including education, training, employment and asset/home ownership—are increased (Fair & Simbandumwe, 2017).

Interventions included in a financial empowerment model include basic needs assistance and consumer protection education; identification of and access to safe and affordable financial products; financial coaching and education; assistance with taxation and access to government benefits; and opportunities for saving and building up assets for financial security (United Way of Calgary and Area). While, financial empowerment strategies do not replace other poverty reduction initiatives, they do serve as a key compliment to existing frameworks.

Ideas presented here do not reflect the COH and the Homeless Hub.