The Caleb Group Launches First-of-a-Kind Financial Savings and Coaching Programs for Low-Income Housing Residents

Swampscott, MA – The Caleb Group, a nonprofit affordable housing organization based in Swampscott, Massachusetts announced that it is pledging $250,000 towards an innovative, first-of-a-kind, financial independence program for residents of low-income housing.

The program, in partnership with Compass Working Capital, provides incentive-based savings and financial coaching programs that empower working, low-income families to build assets, achieve their financial goals, and become financially secure.

Caleb provides housing and supportive services in 2,000 housing units at 26 locations in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and Connecticut. The partnership is launching initially in two Caleb communities – Gloucester, Massachusetts and Willimantic, Connecticut.

Compass is a nonprofit financial coaching organization that works with residents of affordable housing.  Since 2005, Compass has worked successfully with approximately 1000 families, including housing residents in Cambridge, Lynn and Boston in the state of Massachusetts, helping them to achieve significant financial goals such as buying homes, starting small businesses, pursuing post-secondary education, and investing in their future through college savings and retirement accounts.

Caleb’s  and Compass’ goal with this partnership is to help 40 participating families build savings, improve their financial health, articulate goals such as owning a home or paying for education, and ultimately position the families to transition out of subsidized housing. This program empowers participants to establish a foundation of financial security that can change their lives and positively impact the lives of their children.

The new partnership is modeled after the Family Self-Sufficiency program, an employment and savings program for families who receive federal housing assistance.  Under the direction of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, FSS programs are administered by local public housing authorities. However, FSS programs are not currently available to families that receive housing assistance through private nonprofit affordable housing organizations such as Caleb. Because of the tremendous need to help families build savings and assets as a pathway out of poverty, Caleb is privately funding the Caleb/Compass program.

The partnership has the potential to serve as a national model, especially since it comes at a time when Congress is being encouraged to expand access to the FSS program. Kristin Siglin, Vice President of Policy for the Housing Partnership Network, a national collaborative of the nation’s leading affordable housing and community development nonprofits explains, “Caleb and Compass are out in front of the industry in terms of facilitating economic transformation for affordable housing residents.  Their partnership and program is a game-changing model for affordable housing residents, organizations and their larger communities.”

Within Caleb’s communities, on-site Service Coordinators offer programs and create a supportive network that functions as a safety net for residents.  The Caleb/Compass program is a natural extension of their work, which also includes helping residents to stabilize and achieve their greatest level of independence possible by connecting them to and performing essential services such as educational assistance, job training and family support.

The new program includes partnerships with local banks in each of these communities as well.   In Gloucester, Massachusetts, the program is partnering with Cape Ann Savings. In Willimantic, Connecticut, Caleb/Compass will partner with Willimantic Bank.

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The Caleb Group, (www.thecalebgroup.org)  a nonprofit affordable housing organization, provides housing and supportive services in over 2,000 units at 26 locations in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and Connecticut.  For more information about Caleb or the Caleb/Compass partnership and program contact Marianne McDermott, 781-595-4665 ext 104 or mmcdermott@thecalebgroup.org.

Compass Working Capital, (www.compassworkingcapital.org), provides incentive-based savings and financial coaching programs that empower working, low-income families to build assets, achieve their financial goals, and become financially secure. Compass’s broader vision is to build a leading nonprofit financial services organization that promotes economic mobility and financial security for working poor families by influencing practice and policy.

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