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POAH dedicates Financial Opportunity Center at Hawthorne Apartments in Independence, MO

September 1, 2017

(Independence, MO) - August 30, 2017 - Community Services League (CSL), Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), Greater Kansas City LISC, Holy Rosary Credit Union and Compass Working Capital along with representatives for US Senator Roy Blunt and US House of Representatives Emanuel Cleaver, II, the Mayor of Independence, Eileen Weir, and Hawthorne Place Apartments residents, celebrated the dedication of the new Financial Opportunity Center August 30 at Hawthorne Place Apartments in Independence, MO. 

“The Financial Opportunity Center is designed to help families take a focused approach to building assets and wealth through the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program,” said CSL President and CEO, Doug Cowan.  “We are proud to partner with POAH, Greater Kansas City LISC, Holy Rosary Credit Union and Compass Working Capital to bring this opportunity to HPA, one of the largest neighborhoods in the country dedicated to affordable housing.” The FSS program is a five-year, voluntary, asset-building tool that enables HUD-assisted families to increase their earnings, build savings, and make progress towards their goals and aspirations.

In the last decade, new research and practice has shown that economic mobility is about more than just income, it’s also about assets. POAH partners with experts in asset development, financial coaching and workforce development to deliver FSS programs in 7 communities in 4 states. Among eligible participants, the average FSS enrollment rate in POAH communities is more than 30%, compared to a national average enrollment rate of roughly 4%.  Recently legislation, co-sponsored by Senator Blunt, would make the FSS permanent for private owners and includes other improvements. 

 “POAH is pleased to partner with Community Services League to implement the largest project-based Family Self Sufficiency program in the country that will assist more than 170 at our largest residential community - Hawthorne Place Apartments in Independence, MO.,” said Aaron Gornstein, President/CEO Preservation of Affordable Housing.  “We are also pleased to announce the launch of the Amy Anthony College Savings Account program which, when combined with the FSS program, will encourage increased earnings and savings to bring greater opportunity for these families.” 

This innovative program is being established to honor POAH’s founder, Amy Anthony, who retired as POAH’s CEO in June of 2015. She remains an active voice for the economic mobility of the families living at POAH properties. Access to higher education is one of the best ways for low-income children to climb the economic ladder, but for too many such children, a college degree can seem like an unattainable goal.  Research shows, however, that even modest college savings can have a major impact on college enrollment and completion rates.  The Amy Anthony College Savings Account Program helps children perceive themselves as college-bound, making this goal appear more realistic, and influences children’s academic performance and preparedness for the rigors of higher education.  

“Financial Opportunity Centers are one of today’s best solutions to breaking down the systemic barriers that keep local families in poverty. Greater Kansas City LISC is fortunate to have CSL as a partner in the FOC Network and we are confident this is a critical program that will improve the financial outlook for hundreds of families.” – Stephen Samuels, Executive Director, Greater Kansas City LISC 

“Holy Rosary Credit Union is excited to be a partner in this project.  Our mission is to alleviate poverty by providing economic opportunity.  This new branch and the IDA accounts are some of the ways we are trying to live out our mission.” – Carole Wight, President, NMLS #811623, Holy Rosary Credit Union 

Attending the event were: 
Doug Cowan, President/CEO, Community Services League  
Jennifer Manuleleua, Community Development Manager, Hawthorne Place Apartments/Community Services League 
Aaron Gornstein, President/CEO, Preservation of Affordable Housing 
Patricia Belden, President, Preservation of Affordable Housing Communities 
Amy Anthony, Former President/CEO, Preservation of Affordable Housing 
Stephen Samuels, Executive Director, Greater Kansas City LISC 
Carole Wight, President, NMLS #811623, Holy Rosary Credit Union 
Matt Haase, Deputy State Director, US Senator Roy Blunt’s 
Manny Arbaca, Community Affairs Liaison, US House of Representatives Emanuel Cleaver, II  
Eileen Weir, Mayor of Independence 
Karen DeLuccie, City Councilor At Large, Independence 
Brad Halsey, Chief of Police, Independence 
Jason Snodgrass, Superintendent, Fort Osage School District
Kei-Lisha Thomas, Resident, Hawthorne Place Apartments

Read more:

New effort gives Hawthorne renters a hand up - The Examiner

Event Slide Show