Helping Residents Achieve Financial Security
CSNDC seeks to enable Codman Square residents the knowledge and resources to achieve financial security and self-sufficiency. We offer a series of programs to help people develop the skills necessary to oversee their finances, navigate challenging financial times, and effectively manage their assets and wealth.
Financial Fitness Education
CSNDC’s RI$E program (Reaching Independence through $elf-Empowerment) is designed to help low- and moderate-income residents take control of their financial future by empowering them with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate their finances, effectively manage their assets and wealth, and achieve and maintain economic independence.
RI$E is a comprehensive 4-week course, supplemented with one-on-one budget and credit coaching or counseling that provides financial instruction using a combination of the MyMoney Five and the Money Smart curriculum developed by the FDIC. Clients receive at least eight hours of high-quality financial capability group instructional services coupled with two hours of either financial coaching or peer financial support sessions over the course of four weeks. The class meets for two hours per week for the duration of the four weeks.
The curriculum focuses on helping residents make the most of their money by covering topics such as: goal setting, money management, banking, basic budgeting, managing and repairing credit, saving for financial goals, and the use of insurance.
Financial Counseling and Coaching
In addition to the RI$E program, CSNDC offers free budget and debt counseling to those who need help with budgeting, money management, and credit issues. Certified counselors take the time to thoroughly understand the client’s needs and help the client develop an individualized action plan to achieve their financial goals. This includes:
- Assessing current financial situation
- Developing a realistic spending plan
- Establishing achievable financial goals
- Creating a personal action plan for success
The objective is to help individuals understand how their personal situation and preferences affect their financial decision-making and recognize the trade-offs inherent in every choice they make.
CSNDC also offers financial education to individuals. Operated in partnership with STRIVE, a Codman Square-based workforce re-entry program, our courses for re-entering citizens, low-skill laborers, and other low- and moderate-income people familiarize participants with tools and resources to reduce debt and increase assets. During the core four-week course, students receive 8 hours of group instruction and 2 hours of one-on-one coaching. This can include coaching on such topics as how to develop an action plan, clean up credit, avoid the check cashing industry, and goal setting, followed up through action plans and additional coaching and/or counseling sessions.
Family Self-Sufficiency Program
For residents who live in CSNDC’s HUD-subsidized housing, subsidies decrease as family income rises – so the rent increases as earned income grows. This creates an ongoing barrier to advancement for many of our residents.
To address this issue, CSNDC has launched the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program in partnership with Compass Working Capital, a nonprofit financial services organization, and WinnCompanies. Enrollment in the FSS program allows residents to save the increase in monthly rent payments in an interest-bearing escrow account. This is a powerful savings tool to help families make progress towards their financial goals and build assets.
In addition, participants receive one-on-one support from a team of highly trained financial coaches who help residents create an individualized plan build a more stable financial future for themselves and their family.
Currently, only residents of CSNDC’s Washington Columbia 1 and Washington Columbia 2 housing developments are eligible to apply to the Family Self-Sufficiency Program.
It is common for families in our community, even those who are homeowners, to not have wills. We have watched many families painstakingly make their way through confounding legal and financial difficulties when the owner of the family home dies intestate. Estate planning enables families to steward a cherished resource, leverage their lifetime investment, preserve their residence in the community, and facilitate their family’s intergenerational wealth transfer.
To help, CSNDC has partnered with the Lawyers Clearinghouse to offer one-on-one legal services to improve the economic position of individuals and families through the preservation and transfer of intergenerational wealth. This service is part of our broader Keeping Codman Square Affordable campaign to stabilize our community against gentrification and displacement.
The program provides three primary services: financial capability coaching; financial planning; and access to discounted services to develop proxy wills and/or trusts. These services are provided through a group workshop, one-on-one work with financial fitness staff, and legal assistance from a pro bono attorney.