For Friday’s event, around 20 clients gathered in the bright common room at Lantern’s Amber Hall in the Bronx, to hear from Operation HOPE Financial Management Counselor Rachel Hood. Rachel guided participants through a range of key issues, such as how to set financial goals and how to go about building or improving their credit score. The interactive workshop style encouraged lots of questions, from how to overcome a poor credit history to how to build up savings for the future. It was also an opportunity for Lantern clients to share their financial management strategies with each other, such as their experiences using savings accounts. One big revelation for many participants was Rachel’s advice on how to use a credit card as a tool to build your credit score, by using it only once a month for a small, essential purchase such as shampoo. The highlight of the afternoon, though, was when Rachel said Lantern had arranged for her to return and offer one-on-one counseling: the whole room burst into applause!
While Financial Capability Month is about improving financial management skills for everyone, our clients often need this support more than most. Histories of homelessness and poverty can can often translate into a lack of opportunity to build good credit. Most now live on very low incomes, which makes money management particularly challenging. We’re excited that through our partnership with Operation HOPE we can help Lantern clients improve their financial future, and we look forward to continuing to work with them.