Going from homeless to owner is possible thanks to Poverello House, BofA – GV Wire

Men who have struggled to get their lives back on track find themselves in a classroom at Poverello House with pen and paper, taking notes that will help them make better financial decisions.

Money management is just one part of Poverello’s year-long men’s rehab program, which includes six months of aftercare at a halfway house.

Financial literacy is important because graduates of the program come out with close to $20,000 in income.

However, history indicates that some of the graduates will not get very far before returning to the program with no money to their name.

To avoid this cycle, Poverello House now relies on Bank of America’s Better Money Habits program to teach participants how to make wise financial choices.

Brett Lucky, a resident of Poverello, has just started the rehab program. He says his goal is to be able to stand when he leaves.

“Like most people, I want to pay for my own car. I want to buy a house eventually,” Lucky said.

“But really, I just want to be sure that I can manage the finances on my own and be able to breathe without this added stress of where I’m going to pay my bills and how it’s going to work out at the end of the week, or at the end of the week. end of the month, and not having to stress too much about this stuff.

Residents of Poverello House participate in a men’s rehab program where they learn financial literacy from Bank of America employees. (GV Wire/Liz Juarez)

Men’s rehab program helps men get back on their feet

Gavin Larson, who is a job developer and case manager for the Poverello home, oversees many of the men in the program.

He says that all the men are assigned a role that plays an important role in the day-to-day operations of Poverello.

“All the guys who prepare the food, all the guys who provide security, work in the warehouse, drive deliveries, pick up deliveries and donations, they’re all program participants,” Larson said.

“We review substance use disorders, we do the 12 steps of AA, and we have group therapy for mental health.”

Larson says the program is multifaceted with several resources offered to help men.

However, he says, an often overlooked topic was the final stage of the program – the financial literacy part.

In the past, Larson taught residents some basic financial skills until Bank of America stepped in by offering to teach classes every three months.

“It’s really invaluable, you know, to have bankers come and teach this course and so I know from my humble perspective, we’re really grateful to Bank of America,” Larson said.

“In the past, they (Bank of America) have been a financial backer, one of our sponsors, and a partner in many ways. So to go on this trip and really spend time with our guys is very special.

What do program participants learn?

Volunteers show men how to open a bank account, understand a paycheck, manage a strict budget and pay off debt.

Marisa Moore, local banking market manager for Fresno and Visalia, explains that once they finish teaching the basics, later sessions focus on planning major purchases such as a car and a home, and saving for retirement.

“Talking to all of our volunteers, the guys have been super engaged the whole time, asking questions and really wanting to learn,” Moore said. “I feel they take this very seriously and will apply much of what they learn to their own lives now and when they leave the Poverello household.”

One of the students, Felipe Barrajas, said he was excited to learn how to save because his goal is to own a house.

“I learned how important it is to save money and how to budget,” Barrajas said. “I also learned to watch out for fraud and be aware of what I spend.”

Marisa Moore, Bank of America’s market manager for Fresno and Visalia, gives financial advice to participants in Poverello’s men’s rehab program. (GV Wire/Liz Juarez)

Getting out of the program is not always easy

Larson says getting out of the program isn’t always easy, but Poverello House is focused on building a community where participants are always welcome.

“I think one of the main things is that the rehab program is tough, it’s not easy,” Larson said.

After residents pass the first two or three weeks, Larson says many participants become deeply committed to change and recovery.

“At this point, you know, they’re extracting every drop of information, every resource they can from this place,” Larson said.

Former participants facing difficult challenges often feel comfortable coming back for help, Larson says.

“I’ve got guys from two years ago saying, hey, man, I just got fired. Can I work with you guys?” Larson said. can come back.”

Bank of America Resources

While the Better Money Habits program is taught in schools, colleges, and recovery resource centers, Bank of America also offers these same resources to the public.

Lessons on banking basics, auto and home loans, retirement, kids’ college, and debt repayment are all available for free by visiting the bank’s website here.

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