Financial Independence Track (FIT)
Last year, FIT provided 768 individual sessions for 91 adults who resided in our Domestic Violence Safehouse, Family Home or our HomeStart Supportive Housing Program.
Our clients have suffered years of abuse and control, leaving them unfamiliar with strategies to successfully manage their own finances. Along with poor financial management skills, clients typically come to our programs with debt ranging from $2,000–$60,000 and annual incomes from $6,000–$24,000. They are often challenged by low self-esteem, depression and feelings of guilt and fear leading to severe deficits in their sense of financial empowerment and control.
Doorways’ Financial Independence Track (FIT) addresses those issues with concrete, practical financial educational approaches that simultaneously teach money management and financial decision-making skills. The specially trained FIT staff empowers clients one-on-one to manage their daily finances, gain control over their debt and create a financial safety plan. FIT utilizes a Wealth Enhancement approach to increasing the cumulative wealth of our families through enhanced earnings, entitlement program maximization, debt reduction and cost savings.
FIT Addresses Today’s Financial Challenges
Survivors of domestic violence typically experience a loss of income due to job interruption after moving to flee an abuser or job loss because of on-the-job harassment by an abuser. In addition they often lose control of their finances to their abuser and suffer economic abuse including misuse of their credit cards and bank accounts. Homeless adults typically arrive at Doorways with challenged financial management skills due to lack of knowledge and a constant cash shortfall to pay expenses due to low income/minimal work skills/ job jumping. As a result our clients often find themselves with excessive debt, a poor and highly damaged credit rating, and minimal knowledge of managing their own finances successfully.
Doorways’ Financial Education Counselors work with HomeStart, Family Home and Safehouse adult clients to ensure a continuum of care and support.
FIT Counselors Assist in Finding Solutions
- Understanding clients’ personal financial situation;
- Assess and address clients’ financial risk including how to set up and review open accounts for security and necessity;
- Improve clients’ understanding of basic money management concepts to include creating monthly spending plans;
- Help clients understand and approach their debt;
- Aid clients in understanding their rights, how to communicate with collectors, and address specific debt which may prevent living independently;
- Create clients’ own bank accounts separating their association with their abuser’s finances; and
- Live self sufficiently and independently.