For Immediate Release

Contact: Marilyn Katz

312.822.0505 |


$1 Million Grant to Help Unemployed and Underemployed Woodlawn Residents Find Workable Solutions to Financial Problems


January 27, 2016 (Chicago) – Preservation of Affordable Housing’s (POAH) Woodlawn Resource Center is one of seven Financial Opportunity Centers in Chicago awarded a $525,000 grant from Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC) to help unemployed or underemployed individuals with financial coaching and career planning, employment services and access to public benefits and other income supports.

POAH is matching the LISC grant to create a $1.05 million program spread over the next three years and implemented at its 6144 S. Cottage Grove site.

“Many clients first come into the Woodlawn Resource Center simply looking for work,” said Bill Eager, Vice President of POAH Chicago. “However the center provides multiple financial interventions to remove employment barriers and to provide participants with the needed tools that build good financial habits and help them reach their financial goals.”

The Woodlawn Resource Center’s job-readiness program requires clients to meet with financial coaches who tailor services to each individual’s needs. Coaches take the time to talk with clients, get to know their situations and assess far more than work history.

“When people hear ‘financial coaching,’ it’s a turnoff. Many people think like I did – if I don’t have any income, what can you tell me? But what people don’t really understand is that Financial Opportunity Centers helps you find workable solutions to financial problem,” said Nicole Richard, an employee of the Woodlawn Resource Center and former Financial Opportunity Center client.

When Nicole was a client, she had been jobless for almost a year, one of her children needed braces and another was graduating from high school. Nicole shared what she wanted to gain from the financial coaching and the Woodlawn Resource Center staff worked with her to restructure her credit and instructed her on how to put together a budget.

“When you’re in the middle of the storm, having someone there to help you and guide you can take a lot of the stress away,” said Nicole.

LISC received $21 million in Social Innovation Fund (SIF) from 2010 to 2015 to bring the Financial Opportunity model to scale, expanding to more than 75 centers in 33 cities. These grants are targeted to implement contextualized bridge programs and integrated employment, financial and income support services under the Bridges to Career Opportunities program model.

The model focuses on an integrated set of three core services – employment and career planning assistance; financial education and coaching; and access to income supports.

The other centers being awarded sub-grants are the Center for Changing Lives, Central States SER, Instituto del Progresso Latino, Jane Addams Resource Corporation, Metropolitan Family Services and North Lawndale Employment Center.