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Financial literacy classes: transitional housing & supportive housing

financial literacy classes for transitional housing supportive housing programsThe goal of supportive housing and transitional housing programs is to provide housing. However, organizations providing housing assistance often also provide financial literacy education.
Why? Because people who need housing assistance typically need more than just housing assistance. With an asset-building approach, transitional housing programs also teach clients how to make smarter financial choices.
The goal isn’t just to provide housing but to help people improve their lives. That means improving their finances and helping them establish healthy financial habits and attitudes.

“Typical” financial literacy classes in supportive housing and transitional housing programs

Typical financial literacy classes or curricula deal with basic financial skills and issues. The following topics are common in financial education and asset-building classes:

  • Creating a budget or spending plan; spending habits
  • Getting out of debt
  • Identity theft
  • Insurance
  • Fixing and improving credit and understanding credit scores
  • Getting banked and savings accounts

In addition, transitional housing and supportive housing classes may add:

  • The home-buying process
  • Benefits eligibility – Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), WIC, CHIP, etc.
  • Understanding mortgages and loans
  • The road to asset building (including IDA and matched saving programs)

Why include financial behaviors and values in financial literacy classes?

Because so much of personal finance is about behavior and habits, many personal finance classes now include a class on financial behaviors. These classes help participants better understand why they do what they do with money. These values classes also tend to be more fun and engaging. They don’t go over numbers and budgets – which can be scary and boring – and make finances personally relevant.

Money Habitudes financial literacy classes for supportive housing and transitional housing programs

When Money Habitudes cards are used in transitional housing and supportive housing classes, it is typically:

  • As a financial ice breaker or conversation starter in an existing class.
  • As the first class in a series of financial literacy classes.

The Money Habitudes cards are used because they are:

  • Fun; participants often laugh and smile; rare for a financial literacy class!
  • Tactile and hands-on; better experience than PowerPoint, lectures, and worksheets.
  • Easy to learn and easy to teach. No complicated training program or certification.
  • A simple but effective tool to explore money personality, financial behavior, financial attitudes, and values.
  • Used across the education spectrum because they are worded simply.
  • A great money conversation starter.
  • Durable; can be reused over and over in programs.
  • Flexible; can be used in a variety of classes – as well as one-on-one financial counseling and couples counseling

Read how Virginia Supportive Housing uses Money Habitudes in financial literacy classes for supportive housing and transitional housing programs