An Initiative A Day 4.4: Offer financial literacy and housing education programs for tenants and homeowners.

On February 25, the NEOSCC Board will be voting on the the Vibrant NEO 2040 Vision, Framework and Action Products.  Everyday over the next 5 weeks,  we will be sharing an “Initiative A Day” so you can gain a better understanding of the vision and framework!  If you would like to read all of the Initiatives, you can download them here Vibrant NEO Recommendation and Initiatives.

Show your support for Vibrant NEO 2040 by adding your name to our Champions of Vibrant NEO 2040 list here!

Initiative 4.4: Offer financial literacy and housing education programs for tenants and homeowners. Focus on areas in established communities where investments in housing are underway.

You can access a full size version of this image by downloading the Vision Chapter at

WHAT THIS MEANS:. Financial literacy can be a tremendous barrier to entry into home ownership. Recognizing this fact, national organizations like NeighborWorks have partnered with local governments and philanthropic foundations to research, develop, and implement curricula aimed at building financial literacy in low-income communities. This has been especially needed since the foreclosure crisis began in 2007, causing many low-income homeowners to lose their homes. Cleveland and other communities in Northeast Ohio were particularly hard-hit by the crisis, which has caused vacancy and abandonment to reach near-epidemic rates.

WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT: Doing a better job of reaching and educating low-income communities on good financial management practices will help to prevent future crises like the one recently suffered in Northeast Ohio and many other places around the country. These efforts should not stop with current homeowners, but extend to tenants who may one day become homeowners.

GETTING IT DONE: Public housing authorities and community development corporations are best positioned to offer financial literacy and housing education programs to low-income communities, possibly in cooperation with local universities and community colleges. Local philanthropic foundations can be engaged as funding partners for these efforts.

TOOL: The Fair Housing Contact Service (FHCS) is an independent non-profit agency which provides comprehensive educational opportunities, counseling and support services to people concerned about fair housing in our communities. FHCS offers several programs under Housing Counseling Service.

TOOL: Cleveland-based KeyCorp is one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies, with assets of approximately $91 billion. Learn and Earn is KeyBank’s comprehensive financial education and awareness program, designed to address the growing need and desire of consumers to improve their financial management skills. Their goal is to provide access to resources that create a strong foundation for economic stability and growth in the communities they serve. Classes are free and open to the community. Also, you do not have to be a KeyBank customer to attend.


Lead Public Housing Authorities; Municipalities; Universities; Nonprofit Organizations
Target Community Strategic investment areas, asset risk areas
Implementation Complexity Low


These recommendations, initiatives, and products, are not one-size-fits all and some aspects of the initiatives won’t be applicable everywhere in the 12-county region. The Vibrant NEO 2040 Vision, Framework and Products are intended inspire and guide decision-making at the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), Council of Government, and local levels to ensure that land use, transportation, and environmental considerations are simultaneously addressed by their processes. Ultimately, the implementation of Vibrant NEO 2040 is up to Northeast Ohio’s communities and residents. But regardless of the applicability of each initiative to any particular part of the region, the goal for each community within the Vision is the same: stability, prosperity, and a high quality of life for all of its residents.