We inspire people with the vision of bringing home ownership to every low income family and empower them with the tools to become successful.
We recognize that while conditions have improved over the past several years, there are many individuals facing barriers to economic success, including youth, working families, and the formerly incarcerated. Too many individuals living on the margins are limited by their zip code and unable to create a better life for themselves and their families through good jobs or affordable housing. That’s why we’re focused on building pathways to economic mobility by addressing the issues of affordable housing, workforce development, education, basic needs and community development.
We’re committed to advancing a more diverse and inclusive society by expanding opportunities and supporting equitable solutions that will enable low-income families & communities to grow and prosper.
BFFCO engages in effective community revitalization, while putting the tools to build assets and financial capabilities into the hands of low-income families and empowering the families we serve to build a pathway out of poverty while increasing the Amenity Value and Quality of Life in the Neighborhood.
We have developed and refined an approach to our work that builds on expert research, the principles of a national asset development movement, and eleven-years of experience working with low-income families.
BFFCO “Path to Prosperity” model empowers individuals and families out of poverty through a comprehensive, integrated, proven system of care that engages and existing, already HUD funded human service delivery system, through FSS.
A commitment to excellence
We strive for excellence in all areas of our work. Our holistic approach to asset building for low-income families draws on leading research, intensive data-collection, analysis and evaluation, and iteration on our programs to get at what really works. We have developed a reputation for focused, disciplined execution.
A first-in-kind program
Like many other asset-development organizations, BFFCO got started by providing supportive services and career coaching. In 2007, we identified a HUD funded federal program as a broad, scalable market to which we could apply our core competencies, and became the first nonprofit organization in the country to design and implement an asset-building, public-private partnership plan.
A relentless focus on savings and home ownership
BFFCO providing adequate affordable housing for families, while delivering programs that empower families to build savings and asset building capabilities as a pathway out of poverty. This clear and concise focus allows us to iterate and expand on what really works and drive at the best possible approach to the problems we seek to address.
All of our programs combine four main elements:
We seek distressed properties that are in established areas and then renovate the property into a energy efficient home. Our renovation projects offer hands on training to individuals looking to get into an apprentice program with one of our Union Partners. Our renovation projects also raise awareness of the increased importance of green building practices. We are not just rebuilding we are investing in property and human capital simultaneously.
Our staff works closely with the participant and other members of their household to complete an extensive 19 domain assessments to see what we need to do to help you move forward. With the participant’s assessment pointing the way, their Service Coordinator will work with them to create a service plan that lays out the short-, medium- and long-term goals and objectives necessary for achieving self-sufficiency.
Through a unique approach to financial coaching, BFFCO works with families to break down their goals into measurable and achievable steps. The real, day-to-day, and at times frustrating work of budgeting, saving, managing debt, and building credit happens here. There are no shortcuts in this process. Small steps, such as paying down a single credit card, as well as larger steps, such as securing a second job to boost family income, are all key inputs into a successful plan.
Asset Building incentive
Our programs draw on research in the field of behavioral economics by including an incentive designed to help families build savings toward their financial goals. The type of incentive offered varies by program. Families can use these savings to achieve their goals, such as buying a home, saving for their children’s education, completing a job training or college program, or starting a business.
By supporting the efforts of BFFCO, local business, corporations, and organizations connect with the community whose support is critical to their success,
• Gain greater access to targeted populations.
• Improve the economic health and vitality of the community.
• Help train a potential labor force with skills that meet the evolving needs of area employers.
• Strengthen community relations and meet their philanthropic commitments.
• Increase awareness of their organizations within the community.
There are so many families in Michigan and across the country who have hopes and dreams for the future -- whether that be to own a home, to invest in their own education or that of a child, to save for retirement, to start a small business, or another goal. While our subsidized housing system provides a crucial safety net for many families, there is more we can do to leverage this assistance as a platform for economic mobility. For many families in the subsidized housing and welfare systems, rules actually discourage and penalize savings, creating traps that make it more difficult for families to reach these goals and lift themselves out of poverty.
One such “poverty trap” exists in subsidized housing. Households receiving rental assistance typically pay about 30 percent of their income toward rent -- a policy designed to ensure that assisted households pay a fair, but affordable, share of their income for rent. The unintended consequence of this policy is that it may create a disincentive for families to increase their income, because working more means paying more rent and possibly losing other benefits tied to income, a structure which also makes it more difficult for families to build savings
*In 2014, nearly 60 percent of families with children receiving a voucher lived in a neighborhood with a poverty rate of more than 20 percent, while 14 percent lived in a neighborhood with a poverty rate of more than 40 percent. Similarly, in 2008 only one in four families with children receiving a voucher lived near an elementary school that ranked in the top half of the state. *ENTERPRISE