A Stepped Approach

AmeriCorps member are placed and serve at local sites where they use the Stepped Approach. Throught this work, the members build capacity for the host organization to be able to provide financial stability services to its clients.

To request an AmeriCorps Member for your organization, click here.

Step 1: Address Basic Needs

Through a variety of tools like Charity Tracker* and The Benefit Bank navigators are able to screen clients for state and federal benefits, provide emergency financial assistance, and utilize the SafetyNet Assistance Network to make referrals to community agencies for items such as food, clothing, and shelter. Referrals or assistances with basic need services are often repetitive and can be habitual. Supporting a client to move beyond this step usually takes time and multiple service offerings.

Step 2: Increase Basic Skills

Once stability is established, navigators work with clients to increase basic skills. Understanding the cycle of poverty and the barriers associated is necessary in order to build self-sufficiency and strategy for clients to move beyond the frenzied space of financial instability. The Financial Stability Project, in partnership with Origin, provides basic money management courses called Making Ends Meet* to increase knowledge of budgeting, credit scores, taxes, etc. Additionally, Navigators are able to refer clients to courses on basic literacy, basic computer skills, and English as Second Language if needed.

Step 3: Increase Income

In order to increase the financial stability of individuals and families, many clients need to increase their income. To do this, Navigators are able to utilize the Workforce Readiness Toolkit* to work individually with clients on topics like professional dress, interview skills, resume writing, etc.

For some clients, GED or post-secondary coursework is needed to increase income. Navigators are able to utilize the partner agencies in the community or at the Prosperity Centers to meet this need. At the centers GED courses, credit and debt repair classes, and VITA and EITC tax services are among the offerings available to clients through partner agencies.

Step 4: Increase Savings

With increased income comes the opportunity for increased savings. The Financial Stability Toolkit* is utilized by navigators to work individually with clients to set SMART (strategic, measurable, attainable, reliable, time bound) goals. While navigators are not case workers, they do employ a variety of case management strategies to serve clients and help them move towards their goal of financial stability.

Step 5: Gain and Sustain Assets

Clients who are at this step of the financial stability framework are often looking ahead to purchasing a home, purchasing a vehicle, furthering their education, or starting a small business. In order to sustain the financial stability of this major step, navigators utilize partner agencies to educate clients on IDAs (Individual Development Accounts), Micro Loans, and Asset Protection.

More About Our Program Supports:              

  • *CharityTracker is an online tool used by over 300 local agencies and churches. Client information is stored and made available to all agencies and churches in order to efficiently provide serves, share information, and mitigate the burden of client transportation.
  • The Benefit Bank is a web-based screening tool that simplifies and centralizes the process of applying for many state and federal benefits for low and moderate income individuals and families. The Benefit Bank is a part of a community-wide response to poverty and can be utilized by a wide range of community service providers. Our AmeriCorps members use The Benefit Bank to screen for benefits, complete applications, and file federal and state taxes for clients.
  • SafetyNet Assistance Network was established by Trident United Way with the intent to align local services and resources to best meet the needs of clients in our tricounty community.
  • Financial Literacy
  • *Making Ends Meet Classes are facilitated in partnership with Origin and serve to educate clients on the basics of money management.
  • *Financial Stability Toolkit is tool developed by the Financial Stability Project to best equip Family Navigators and clients with local information ranging from banking basics to debt management.
  • *Workforce Readiness Development and Toolkit is a tool developed by the Financial Stability Project to best equip Family Navigators and clients with local information ranging from professional dress to workforce best practices.
  • Prosperity Centers are located Berkeley and Dorchester Counties and are a “one stop shop” of services for clients. Run in partnership with Goodwill, the centers house up to 9 agencies at a time and provide classes, indiviualized coaching, and computer access for clients.