First Steps on the Road to Financial Well-Being

Anne Roder
September 2016

Financial Opportunity Centers (FOCs) seek to improve low-income families’ financial prospects by providing integrated employment assistance, financial coaching, and assistance accessing public benefits to supplement income from work. Mobility conducted an evaluation of five FOCs in Chicago that used a comparison group design to assess program impacts. The final report presents the FOC’s impacts on low-income job seekers’ employment, net income, credit, and net worth two years after entering the programs. The FOCs helped individuals take some initial steps to improve their financial stability. Relative to the comparison group, two years after program entry, FOC participants were more likely:

  • To be employed year-round.
  • To have reduced debts unrelated to assets, such as medical, legal, and tax debt.
  • To have built more positive credit histories as reflected on their credit reports.

The findings indicate that engaging individuals in ongoing financial and employment services is challenging but important to helping low-income individuals improve their financial situations.

Read the Summary

Read the Report