Financial literacy and fair access to lending empower individuals to make informed financial decisions and improve their economic well-being – these are essential tools for all New Yorkers, but especially newly arrived refugees and immigrants who are learning to navigate everything from transportation to education to finance in their new city. Economic empowerment is a core goal for the IRC, as the first step towards a thriving future for arriving refugees is achieving financial stability. Education services to maintain and develop financial health and growth is critical to ensure longterm economic health for refugee families.
Now, the IRC in New York has expanded services to include financial literacy classes and individualized coaching to support clients in gaining the knowledge and tools necessary to ensure financial health in their new homes. In June 2019, the first financial education certificate program will be piloted at the IRC in New York. This month-long workshop series will focus on topics that are most important and relevant to clients’ personal finance – credit, budgeting, banking and taxes.
Along with financial education, clients have access to low interest loans - credit building, education and training, works supports and immigration loans through the IRC’s Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO). CEO is a new IRC subsidiary that offers participants access to a range of affordable financial products that can accelerate clients' upward economic mobility. With these loans, clients can improve their credit score, advance their career opportunities, or cover costs to reunite with family members. CEO was recently certified by the U.S. Treasury as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).
These new services help strengthen the IRC in New York’s ability to support individuals and families as they become self-sufficient and economically empowered.
For more information about the Financial Education, you can contact Papa Ndiaye, Financial Education Specialist in the IRC's New York resettlement office via email at papa.ndiaye [at] rescue.org.