|North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic (NSLAC) announces a partnership with Heartland Alliance, a fellow grantee of the Chicago Foundation for Women, to help domestic violence survivors secure financial stability. Domestic violence survivors experience legal and financial obstacles to independence. Resources focused in these areas help domestic violence survivors eliminate such barriers to achieve safety, and live productive and secure lives.
The organizations created a series of short, informational videos to educate survivors on the basics of finances and building credit. They are also collaborating to refer survivors to Heartland Alliance’s financial coaching program and training NSLAC’s staff in financial coaching.
Director of Domestic Violence Law Practice Rebecca Weininger said, “We are always concerned about creating more issues for survivors by taking legal action without securing financial stability at the same time. The three initiatives that we have developed with Heartland Alliance will equip our staff to contribute to our clients’ financial security. We hope to expand this referral system to include our immigration and housing clients.”
Barbara L. Martinez, Manager in the Asset Building Programs at Heartland Alliance stated, “We are pleased to partner with NSLAC. Their mission and goals are closely aligned with ours. Reaching domestic survivors at the beginning of their journey means that we can help them achieve financial independence faster. Together, we are saving lives.”
Heartland Alliance has recorded a series of short, trauma-informed educational videos on the basics of financial literacy. These videos will be hosted on NSLAC’s successful Banana Bread website (www.bananabreadhelp.com)- a website that is disguised as a recipe blog- to provide a way for people to learn about domestic violence and resources for help without leaving an obvious digital trace. Topics include logistics for opening your own bank account, credit importance, and Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
NSLAC now refers eligible clients (employed, safe, and ready to work toward a financial goal) to Heartland Alliance’s financial coaching program which includes monthly one-on-one financial coaching, online classes, and a stipend for completing the program. This coaching is designed for survivors who have already established some independence from their abuser.
Heartland Alliance is training the staff at NSLAC to educate our clients on financial information including credit building, why credit is important, how to obtain an ITIN, opening bank accounts, and what landlords look for in tenants.
NSLAC is staffed with domestic violence attorneys, a social worker, and advocates who provide confidential assistance. NSLAC works in conjunction with social service agencies and public safety officials who can help provide safety and resources. For more information, call 847-737-4042 or visit www.NSLegalaid.org.