Financial Literacy Workshops Target Low Income Residents | New


Nancy Strom has always earned a steady income and paid her bills on time.

However, she quickly became disabled and quit her job. With Strom’s savings depleted, she became homeless and moved to the M Street Navigation Center in June, which is operated by the Community Action Partnership of Kern with the county.

“I was embarrassed,” Strom said. “I have never been homeless.

She wanted to learn skills in budgeting, saving and other appropriate monetary habits. Strom received this opportunity through a series of financial workshops, which started in September and will last until December, and are being organized in coordination with CapK and Chase Bank.

Chase Bank community manager Shontay Smith-Sweeney, the class teacher, said Chase Bank pledged $ 30 billion in June 2020 to advance racial equity. Seeking to invest in local communities, the Bakersfield branch has sought to teach monetary literacy to residents, business owners and future home buyers.

“It doesn’t matter your background; it doesn’t matter if you have low or moderate income,” Smith-Sweeney said. “It’s about actually having the education.”

Smith-Sweeney grew up in the Bakersfield Housing Authority and was a single mother. The manager of the community bank has witnessed first-hand the effects of limited budgets. She seeks to make sure that the children avoid her own financial mistakes. This fact, along with her love of education, motivated her to create these courses.

The first class began on September 1 and taught six residents of the M Street Navigation Center about a savings account and a budget.

In September, a course will be held every week. From October to December, each month will have two courses focused on preparing for interviews and resumes and other financial topics, Smith-Sweeney said.

M Street resident Jennifer Wright said she never learned how to budget. When Wright used a credit card before, she often forgot her bills and incurred overdraft fees. The course participant is approaching retirement age and is looking to plan for her future by learning these skills.

“It’s a vicious cycle with me,” Wright said. “I want this to stop.”

James Burger, the outreach and advocacy coordinator at CapK, said these courses align with the centre’s mission statement: to provide the homeless population with tools to help them rebuild their lives. Schools rarely teach financial literacy, and its importance does not pass on to the public, he added.

For example, Smith-Sweeney said 52% of people nationwide don’t have $ 500, or enough to fix their car if it breaks down. There are many credit myths circulating and prompting irresponsible actions regarding financial decisions, she said.

“The best part of my job is seeing someone come up and their eyes fill with tears because we were able to give them some light at the end of the tunnel,” said Smith-Sweeney.

At the end of the course, Strom learned from his mistakes. She blamed herself for spending almost $ 1,000 a month on food. The class covered how to better manage money and reminded her of centuries-old lessons she had forgotten. One day, Strom hopes to have his own apartment.

“It was like waking up to try and be smarter,” Strom said. “I will never, ever be – God help me – be in this place again.” “

You can reach Ishani Desai at 661-395-7417. You can also follow her at @ idesai98 on Twitter.

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