Financial Life Skills Workshops at NVFS’ SERVE Family Shelter Provide Guests With Tools They Need For a Strong Financial Foundation
Wellness usually calls to mind activities such as fitness and healthy eating. It can apply to your finances, though, too — especially when they become a source of stress. For those in our community experiencing homelessness, financial wellness education is of the utmost importance. Not only does having an understanding of financial wellness assist an individual in securing stable housing, but having a well-rounded understanding helps one maintain stable housing, as well.
Through Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE), guests at NVFS’ SERVE Family Shelter are getting an in-depth, four-week course on all things finance, including topics such as getting yourself out of debt, the importance of good credit, how to create a spending plan and setting goals for financial wellness.
“Your finances are personal and not an easy discussion to have with strangers,” says Victoria Neely of VCE. “VCE offers guidance and counseling support. The first step toward improving your financial picture is the hardest, and we are here to help [SERVE guests] stay on track until they reach their personalized financial goals.”
Understanding the importance of financial wellness is a key component of the training VCE’s Master Financial Educators provide to prepare guests for their next steps toward stable housing.
“The whole purpose of the program is to help our shelter guests gain a better understanding of their own finances and navigate a successful path forward,” shared SERVE Shelter Director Deb Rapone. “We encourage them to participate because, ultimately, this will have a positive impact on their ability to get and maintain housing.”
Guests have been enjoying the interactive workshops so far, and gaining a better outlook on what they can plan for and achieve.
“The responses we’ve received have been overwhelmingly positive,” Neely stated. “Our workshop attendees ask questions and participate in group breakout activities, making it a fun and interactive focus on finances.”
Each individual workshop offers strategies to better manage finances, with guests regularly attending multiple sessions. It’s safe to say VCE’s financial workshops have been a huge hit at the SERVE shelter.
One client noted, “The most important thing I learned today is that getting out of debt is doable.”
The first step to becoming more financially stable is always the hardest. We’re pleased to know that the attendees are learning, first and foremost, that their monetary debt does not define their future and that there is hope for security.
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