United Way’s network of financial stability centers expands in Quincy

November 6, 2014

State Rep. Tackey Chan ,former client & QCAP Board member Tahlia Gunter, QCAP Executive Director Beth Ann Strollo, and United Way President Mike Durkin celebrate the new Financial REACH Center

QCAP and United Way launch Greater Quincy Financial REACH Center

Quincy Community Action Programs (QCAP) and United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley today launched the Greater Quincy Financial REACH Center on Hancock Street, the first center of its kind on the South Shore aimed at creating more opportunities for local individuals and families to overcome poverty and achieve more stable financial futures.  Research shows that individuals who benefit from this center-based approach are three to four times more likely to increase their income, net worth, or credit score.  QCAP and United Way were joined by State Representative Bruce Ayers (D-Quincy), State Representative Tackey Chan (D-Quincy) and Dean Rizzo, President of the Quincy Chamber of Commerce, at the announcement.

“We know working families are struggling to make ends meet,” said Quincy Mayor Thomas P. Koch. “Our office has identified the need for financial education as a solution to this problem. We look forward to working with QCAP, United Way and area businesses on this exciting new program.”

One in 10 Quincy residents lives in poverty, and, according to the Center for Enterprise Development, two in five Massachusetts residents are living on the edge of financial disaster.  QCAP targets low- to moderate-income households in Quincy, Braintree, Weymouth, Milton, and surrounding communities. The average poverty rate in QCAP’s service area has risen significantly since 2000, from 5.9% to 7.3% in 2012, a 24% increase, while the poverty rate for the state of Massachusetts rose only 2.3% for the same time period.

“The whole region benefits when more working individuals and families are able to stop walking a financial tightrope and get on solid ground,” said Michael K. Durkin, President of United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. “Our goal is to help more families to be financially stable, because we know that will mean more families in our region who have access to quality health care, provide their children with a good education and contribute to our local economies.”

United Way is providing $300,000 over the next three years to operate the Greater Quincy Financial REACH Center at QCAP.  The new center will be the first of its kind on the South Shore and will focus on helping individuals and families toward more secure financial futures by providing multiple services and individual plans in one convenient location.  Services will include:

  • Financial education and coaching, such as living on a budget, reducing debt and building savings and assets for the future
  • Credit counseling and repair
  • Education and job readiness training
  • Job search support and referrals
  • Free tax preparation

“We are grateful to United Way and our local partners like the City for their support,” said Beth Ann Strollo, QCAP’s Executive Director. “Our new REACH Center will expand our financial education work and bring new employment services to the community. This work allows us to provide the needed supports so our clients can develop long-term, practical solutions to lift themselves out of poverty.”

United Way selected QCAP as its partner because of its strong track record in providing adult education, financial education and free tax preparation to Quincy-area residents.  The partnership also enables QCAP and United Way to develop inter-generational strategies that address the needs of the whole family by bringing together participants in QCAP’s Head Start, housing and adult education programs.

The newly-created center is one of six centers that will be funded by United Way in the Greater Boston area in partnership with community-based organizations.  (Other centers are in Lynn, Lawrence, Chelsea, downtown Boston, Roxbury)  In 2015, these six centers will provide intensive coaching and services to over 1,200 people throughout Greater Boston, with more than half expected to make progress toward economic stability as evidenced by increased net income, increased net worth or improved credit scores.  In addition, more than 3,300 people are expected to receive free tax preparation help. This is expected to return more than $6 million in tax refunds and $2.1 million in Earned Income Tax Credit benefits to these communities.