EndPovertyEdmonton-Action-16.jpg

Road Map Action 16

Expand the spectrum of financial empowerment initiatives.

Road Map Timeline: Years 1 - 5

EPE Strategy priority alignment: #16 - Improve literacy.


Initiative Name:
FOUR DIRECTIONS FINANCIAL

Initiative Lead Organization:
ATB FINANCIAL & BOYLE STREET COMMUNITY SERVICES

When Kevin Soto received his “cow-and-plow” money —settlement cash recently awarded to First Nations promised agricultural help by the Canadian government in 1900 under Treaty 8 — he had a new impulse.

He took it to the bank and inquired how he might go about saving it.

“I heard about people, friends, investing in GICs. There was a time I might have turned around and spent that money. But this place made it easy for me to go a different way.”

“This place” is Four Directions Financial, a partnership in Edmonton’s inner city between ATB Financial and Boyle Street Community Services. Kevin, a burly and cheerful 51-year-old from Sturgeon Lake First Nation, is one of Four Directions’ 800 customers.

Kevin moved to Edmonton from the reserve just west of Valleyview as a young man. He worked as a labourer until a pinched nerve in his neck kept him off the job site for good. He acknowledges he’s financially better off than many of his friends who use Four Directions’ services — he has his own place while many of Boyle Street’s patrons live rough on the street — but says the agency treats everyone the same.

“It’s a business, the bank, but it doesn’t feel like a business. It feels comfortable, it feels welcoming. Everyone here, they’re my street family, and we’re welcome here.”

That’s a purposeful feeling the agency worked hard to create after months of consulting the community it hoped to serve in a new, profound way. The results are obvious once you step inside. Cree colours accent the sleek furniture. Biometric equipment like retina and fingerprint scanners has replaced the need for easy-to-lose hard copies of government-issued ID.

Marg Archibald, the Four Directions agency manager who calls Kevin the neighbourhood’s “kind spirit”, says clients can immediately feel the difference, not just see it.

“The gift to Kevin, and to people like him, is we’re part of the community and they can just be who they are. They don’t have to change how they talk. They feel a connection with us, a lack of judgment and bias,” Marg said.

“And that’s important in a world (of banking) that can make them feel small, or judged, or even racially profiled as soon as they walk in the door.”

That Kevin chose to save much of his cow-and-plow treaty settlement is a small and wonderful miracle to Marg and her Four Directions team. At least two dozen of her clients have GICs or other investments now, a number that keeps growing.

“We open accounts for people, yes. We do that. But what we’re really doing is growing financial confidence, for a community that deserves to feel more confident.”

 

FInd out more about four directions financial.

 

Media Inquiry Contact: Elliott Tanty, Boyle Street Community Services 587-338-4025

Public Inquiry Contact: 780-426-3848 or fourdirections@atb.com


Initiative Name:
E4C MAKE TAX TIME PAY

Initiative Lead Organization:
E4C

e4c Make Tax Time Pay Program gives low-income Edmontonians access to help preparing and filing their taxes. People from all walks of life access the volunteer-dependent program.

2017/18:

31 MTTP sites  

4,800 tax returns were filed and 4,230 unique participants were served

Anticipated refund $1.7M

Anticipated GST $1.8M

Anticipated Canada Child Tax Benefit $8M

Over $11.5M money back in the pockets of low income individuals and families.

 

Learn the benefits of filing taxes on low incomes.

 

Public and MEDIA INQUIRY CONTACT: e4calberta.org


Initiative Name:
EMPOWER U

Initiative Lead / Backbone support Organization:
UNITED WAY OF THE ALBERTA CAPITAL REGION AND CITY OF EDMONTON

Empower U is a program primarily focused on women living with low incomes. Participants attend financial literacy workshops and save for an asset that will move them ahead financially. For every dollar a participant saves, they receive two dollars as part of the matched savings program. In its first seven years, over 1,700 people have participated in the Empower U program and have saved close to $575,000 by combining their own savings and matched savings. To date 740 assets have been purchased to assist participants in improving their education, employment prospects and housing stability. While aimed primarily at women, one of the community groups offering the program is open to men and couples.

 

Learn more about Empower U

 

Public and MEDIA INQUIRY CONTACT: United Way - Joanne Currie, Director Strategic Initiatives 780-990-1000


Initiative Name:
FINANCIAL PATHWAYS COLLABORATIVE (FPC)

Initiative Lead Organization:
UNITED WAY OF THE ALBERTA CAPITAL REGION

The Financial Pathways Collaborative (FPC) is a one-of-a-kind partnership led by eight financial institutions (ATB Financial, BMO Bank of Montreal, CIBC, Canadian Western Bank, RBC Royal Bank of Canada, Scotiabank, Servus Credit Union and TD Canada Trust) and three community partners (United Way of the Alberta Capital Region, City of Edmonton and e4c.  Through community workshops, the banking volunteers provide agencies and people living with low income access to tools, resources and expertise to assist them in building their financial stability.

In the first 2 years, the FPC collaborative has trained over 70 volunteers from financial institutions, delivered over 170 financial literacy workshops to nearly 2,000 community members.

Topics for Each One Teach One financial literacy workshops include basic banking, basic budgeting, credit cards, loans, building a healthy credit history, identity theft and fraud prevention, RRSPs, TFSAs, RESPs and contracts.

“(It was valuable) realizing this powerful knowledge we, as bankers, possess and recognizing the responsibility we have to share our knowledge with others” – Financial Institution volunteer

“I feel more confident and knowledgeable in handling debt and financial situations.” - workshop participant

 

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT Financial Pathways.

Learn more about Each One Teach One workshops.

 

Public and MEDIA INQUIRY CONTACT: United Way - Joanne Currie, Director Strategic Initiatives 780-990-1000


Initiative Name:
YOUCANBENEFIT.CA

Initiative Lead Organizations:
CITY OF EDMONTON, E4C, ENDPOVERTYEDMONTON, CYBERA & BETACITYYEG

You Can Benefit provides easy web access to information about a range of financial benefits and subsidies. The web tool provides individuals, families, and community workers with easy to access information on available municipal, provincial and federal benefits. The tool will have open source content and as such, it can be shared with other organizations and municipalities nationwide. You Can Benefit does not collect or track user information.

In its first year, YouCanBenefit.ca had an average of 538 users per month.

 

In The News:

 

YOU CAN BENEFIT Website

SUBMIT FEEDBACK ON THE PROGRAM With This Form.


Last Updated: August 8, 2018