Financial Capability Programs
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program
Haven Neighborhood Services’ VITA program provides an opportunity for the LMI community to file accurate and timely tax returns at no-cost to them and in a culturally responsive, linguistically sensitive manner. This ensures that clients increase their yearly income by the amount of their tax return with the potential to turn that income into savings for the future. Over a third of Haven Neighborhood Services’ VITA program participants qualify for the EITC, which can award a family up to $6,318.00 in additional supplemental income. Haven Neighborhood Services’ VITA program also provides clients with access to tax return refunds that would otherwise go unclaimed.
Haven Neighborhood Services’ VITA program is a key component in our continuum of asset building spectrum services. Our clients face multiple challenges to economic success, including high poverty rates, lack of affordable housing, limited job opportunities, language barriers, and victimization by predatory financial institutions. Through leveraging tax time as an entry point into other services, Haven Neighborhood Services is able to not only supplement family income through tax returns, but also to help them improve their overall financial situation through our Financial and Housing Education Workshops, Financial Literacy and Housing Services, and Supportive Services.
Financial Literacy Workshop
Haven Neighborhood Services’ Financial Literacy program consists of a five-part workshop series that introduces clients to the financial mainstream. Each week, financial experts teach topics from the FDIC Money Smart curriculum, which is designed to help enhance financial wellness and educate Low-and Moderate-Income (LMI) individuals/families. The FDIC Money Smart curriculum contains the following topics:
- Basic Budgeting & Savings
- Establishing & Building Credit
- Understanding a Credit Report & Score
- The Do's & Don'ts of Credit Card Usage
- Investment Options
- Identity Theft Protection
- Consumers’ Rights & Protection
- Among other Financial Subjects
At the end of the course, participants who completed all five workshops receive a certificate of completion from the program.
Online Banking Workshop
Our online banking workshop called Ready, Set, Bank! And its Spanish version, Listos, Clic, Avance! is taught by our financial instructors who use visual content (over 44 micro-video tutorials; each 2-3 minutes long) to help bridge the digital divide amongst LMI individuals/families, seniors, youth, immigrants, etc. Illustrated below are topics discussed during the workshop:
- How to Set-Up Your Online Banking
- How to Manage Your Account
- The Benefits of Online Banking
- Online Banking Safety & Security
- How to Stay on Top of Your Money
- Among other Online Banking Topics
The program is a powerful tool in educating those who are not technologically savvy to navigate online banking through mobile devices and other computer platforms.
Haven Neighborhood Services offers a comprehensive Financial Coaching program that is designed to help individuals and families understand the basics of personal finance and to develop healthy financial habits.
Our Certified Financial Coaches’ main purpose is to empower their clients to reach their financial goals and learn how to handle their finances responsibly. Our Financial Coaches typically work with clients who want to save money, create a budget, pay off debt, improve their credit scores or just enhance their financial literacy in general.
Personal/Business Credit Counseling
Our organization also offers Certified Credit Counseling for individuals and business owners in need of establishing or improving their mismanaged credit.
Our Certified Credit Counselors provide guidance in consumer and business credit, negotiate with creditors, debt management assistance, evaluate credit reports, among other assistance. During credit counseling, the client’s income, assets, debt, and credit report are analyzed to determine the best way to address financial issues to improve their creditworthiness.
Identity Theft Recovery Assistance
Haven Neighborhood Services provides support, answers, and step-by-step guidance to expedite recovery from identity theft and re-establish the victim’s good name and credit rating. We work with government agencies and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to help remedy the effects of an identity theft.
Our Specialists provide members with: Help with reporting suspicious or fraudulent incidents to all three major credit bureaus and requesting credit reports; and help with notifying credit card companies to report missing or stolen cards, obtain replacement cards, and correct credit reports; and lastly, assistance with filing a police report.
Bank Account Enrollment Assistance
Haven Neighborhood Services provides Bank Account Enrollment Assistance to help navigate your best banking options. For many, getting a bank account can seem impossible. There are two terms commonly used to describe that challenge. For example, for those who are Unbanked, where no one in a household has a checking or savings account or Underbanked, where a household has a bank account but goes outside of the bank for alternative financial services (AFS) such as money orders, check cashing, payday loans and more (which tends to provide a high interest fee).
Our financial counseling services provide an array of banking options that fits within your budget to help achieve your savings goals.
Debt Relief Counseling
Haven Neighborhood Services provides debt relief counseling with strategies and resources to pay off your debt over time. Our highly trained and certified counselors provide a wide variety of debt relief services, including credit card counseling, bankruptcy counseling, and more. In many cases, all of our services include an educational component that can help you learn to budget and manage money more effectively in order to reach your financial goals. We specialize in the following:
- Personal Debt
- Predatory Lending Intervention Assistance
- Student Loan Counseling
- Child Support
- Veteran Debt Relief Assistance
- Among Other Debt Related Services