Economic Mobility Pathways (EMPath) in Boston pairs low-income parents with professionals to support them in gaining the resources and skills needed to attain financial self-sufficiency. Nicki Ruiz de Luzuriaga, Associate Vice President of Capacity Building for EMPath, explains how families can move up financially.
Q: How can mentoring help parents improve their economic stability?
A: Participants are paired with “Mobility Mentors”. Some participants are homeless and not working. Others work full-time but are still struggling. They face obstacles that include unpredictable work schedules, low pay, inadequate childcare, unsafe housing, and countless others. We start with a self-assessment so that participants can reflect on where they are and where they want to be. The participant may want a job, for example; but then realize they need to secure childcare before they can work. We hope to build a person’s ability to think about and plan for the future, to juggle multiple priorities and to adapt to new circumstances.
Q: What results do you see?
A: While it can take five years or more to become financially stable, people can start taking steps immediately. For example, we work with homeless families to open savings accounts and get into the habit of saving a little bit every week. We start with small goals and build momentum from there.