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 a child is born poor in Charlotte, he/she is more likely to stay poor than in 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." Recommendations in the March 2017 Task Force report included 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 Head Start programs so their preschoolers can get a jumpstart on their education.
  • We promote early reading literacy through our 30 for 30 Literacy Program, encouraging parents to keep a log of books they read with their children for at least fifteen minutes daily and encouraging older children to read independently over the summer. This incentivized reading program supports family bonding and prevention of summer learning loss. In addition, community partner Promising Pages provides age-appropriate, culturally-relevant books for CFH family members' home libraries and facilitates programming that cultivates a love of reading.
  • A Child's Place (ACP) is an important collaborative partner, as they assist CFH in expanding our two-generation approaches. ACP and CFH provide socio-emotional learning curricula and skill building for students in 3rd - 5th grades, while they are in the shelter. ACP provides service delivery for the children, while CFH concurrently works with parents on goal setting and achievements leading to family stability and self-sufficiency.

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.
  • A transformative new collaboration with Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) was recently launched, entitled The Education Empowerment Program. CPCC will provide group and individual career and educational coaching, and access to CPCC classes for CFH families. CFH will consider CPCC students that are referred by CPCC for inclusion in its program.
  • Graduating high school seniors receive assistance with college preparation.

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.
  • Additionally, we support access to transportation resources through our transportation fund, to assist clients with bus passes, gas gift cards 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, Central Piedmont Community College and Thompson Child and Family Focus (TCFF), 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.