The Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development is serving as the evaluation partner for Community Financial Centers (CFC) that are being implemented at multiple sites in Cleveland under the direction of Cleveland Neighborhood Progress.
Modeled after a national program created by Cities for Financial Empowerment (CFE) Fund, the sites are providing hands-on guidance on issues such as prioritizing, negotiating, and paying down debts, opening safe and affordable bank accounts, establishing and building credit, creating realistic household budgets, and increasing savings. During the first year of implementation, a broad range of low and middle income households were served at a variety of locations including their places of employment, housing locations, and other community based service locations. Among the most common challenges the households faced were access to credit, budgeting for household expenses and developing consistent savings contributions. Bringing the CFC services into locations such as places of employment and housing allowed many more households to become engaged in the services because of their convenience and customization to the local context.