Peaceful Paths’ Economic Empowerment Program is designed to help survivor’s overcome economic abuse and become financially self sufficient. The program began in 2008 with a grant from the Allstate Foundation in partnership with the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) and administered by the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (FCADV) to develop a pilot program in Florida for addressing the unique needs of survivors through a networking of service providers, community partnerships, education, and asset building. The program consists of several components that continue to grow and offers a range of opportunities to survivors’ as they work on becoming financially independent. The program is open to any survivor of domestic violence within our service area- Alachua, Bradford and Union County.
This component is a series of 10 interactive classes that address the many aspects of finances- from understanding economic abuse, safety planning and budgeting to organizing your finances, credit issues and long term financial planning for retirement. Classes are facilitated by professionals in the community who volunteer to share their expertise and become part of each participant’s personal financial network.
Employment is key to establishing a solid financial plan. We help participants at this stage work with professionals to increase their employability skills- from resume writing and mock interviews to computer classes and dressing well. We are looking forward to increasing the opportunities within this component over the course of the coming year.
Individual Development Account (IDA)
This component is the actual asset building segment of the Economic Empowerment Program that helps individuals achieve their career and personal goals by giving them a foundation to build upon as a pathway to life-long independence and security. The opportunity to open a “matched savings” account with a 2:1 ratio is available to each participant. There are specific IDA requirements and financial goals are discussed individually with an advocate.
This is our newest program component coming on board in the Fall of 2011. It will be available to program participants as a means of building positive credit, preventing small financial crises or for starting an emergency savings fund. We will work with Capital City Bank to manage the loans and Credit Builder’s Alliance for reporting payments to credit bureaus and pulling survivors reports and FICO scores for reviewing, repairing and rebuilding credit. Loans will be at 0% interest and secured by the funds in their IDA account and a grant from the Women’s Giving Circle which means the participant will only need to pay back the principle amount of the loan with no additional costs.
Mentors are available to support program participants as they navigate their new path towards self sufficiency; finding their voice and reclaiming their personal power is necessary in building self confidence and encouraged by their mentor. The mentors are successful, independent women who have come forward to share their strengths, wisdom and leadership with other women working to rebuild a safe and healthy network within our community.