Our Work towards Economic Mobility

In May of 2015, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Economic Opportunity Task Force was formed following a Harvard University/University of California, Berkeley study known as the "Chetty Study" that revealed that Charlotte-Mecklenburg ranked 50th out of 50 large cities for economic mobility. This means that if you are born poor, you are more likely to stay poor in Charlotte, more than any of the other communities highlighted in the study.

The Task Force assembled community stakeholders with a focus on investigating "why the odds of moving out of poverty are so low for children born in our county and, based on the findings, recommend a plan of action to change this long-standing situation." It shared the findings through a report with recommendations that was distributed on March 27, 2017. The report recommendations include strategies to promote early care and education, college and career readiness, child and family stability, and social capital. Some of the key strategies that are connected to our work are included below.

Determinant #1: Early Care and Education

Strategy C: Make the necessary investments to ensure all children in Mecklenburg County from birth to age five have access to quality early care and education.
  • We partner with Child Care Resources (CCRI) to provide our families with access to safe, affordable, and quality childcare through subsidized vouchers.
  • Our clinical family social workers link families to Headstart programing so their preschooler can get a jumpstart on their education.
  • We promote early reading literacy through our summer literacy program, which challenges families to read for fifteen minutes with or to their children daily for at least 25 days out of the month.

Determinant #2: Career & College Readiness

Strategy I: Expand and strengthen support for first-generation and other low-socioeconomic students who need help in transitioning to and completing postsecondary education.
  • Families are eligible to apply for a CFH scholarship to pay for classes, books and/or tuition. This provides access to better paying jobs and promotes long-term self-sufficiency.

Determinate #3: Child and Family Stability

Strategy O: Help more families get and stay on a path to living wage income and asset building.
  • We work closely with families on their goals specifically in the areas of obtaining and maintaining permanent housing, increasing their monthly income, health and wellness, strengthening natural support systems and education.
  • Families at CFH are required to save money on a monthly basis while in the program. If participants save monthly and attend required workshops, they are eligible for a $1,000 bonus at exit. Families that save on a regular basis are also eligible to participate in our Individual Development Account Program where funds saved in that account are matched 1:1 up to $500.
  • Data from the 2015-2016 fiscal year showed families that exited from the program with savings, saved an average of $1,897.
  • To assist with transportation needs, which often creates a barrier to success, CFH provides resources through the Jumpstart Car Initiative which assists families with purchasing reliable, affordable transportation to increase their ability to travel throughout the city going to work, kids’ schools and/or childcare. Families that purchase discounted cars through our Jumpstart Car Program are also improving their credit scores. When they make timely payments and finish paying off their car, our partner, Common Wealth Charlotte, will report to the three major credit bureaus, essentially increasing the family’s credit score by 50-60 points on average thereby leaving them in better "financial wellness" at exit than they were at entry.
  • Additionally, we support access to transportation resources through our transportation fund, to assist clients with bus passes, gas money and those unexpected costly car repairs to ensure that they can continue to work when in need.

Strategy P: Take dramatic steps to address our affordable housing crisis, which will stabilize working families, prevent family homelessness, and minimize the disruption of children who currently move from school-to-school due to housing affordability issues. • We have developed relationships with more than 70 housing provider
  • We have developed relationships with more than 70 housing providers, spread across 25 zip codes, who help house families throughout Charlotte. As a result, families have access to better schools, better jobs and social capital opportunities when they are scattered throughout the city as opposed to a single-site housing approach.
  • Our partnership with CMS-McKinney Vento liaisons allow our children to remain in their current schools for the entire time they are in CFH’s program.

Strategy T: Re-envision a human services system in which the needs of families are addressed holistically and services and support are coordinated to achieve the best possible outcomes.
  • We work to empower families by collaborating with other agencies to provide holistic support. Through partnerships with organizations like Crisis Assistance Ministry, Beds for Kids, Goodwill and others, we work to ensure families have the connections and access needed for long-term success.

Social Capital

Strategy U: Ensure all children, youth and families have relationships in the community which:
  • Connect them to opportunities, information and resources;
  • Broaden their horizons about what's possible in their lives;
  • Assist in navigating through unexpected crises to stay on track;
  • Offer tangible pathways toward achieving their aspirations; and demonstrate to every child, youth and adult that their contribution is vital to the success of our community
  • We work to provide social capital that supports economic mobility through staff and volunteer support. Clinical social workers are on the front lines with our clients, connecting them to resources and helping them set goals. Our social workers serve as accountability partners, helping families stay focused and prevent future crises by arming them with the tools and knowledge to stay on track.
  • We also provide families with Hope Teams, groups of 3-6 volunteers who partner with our clients to provide love, support, encouragement and social capital and help families see their value, see what’s possible and move towards self-sufficiency with a focus on long-term success.