Thursday, April 03, 2008
Bryan Selected for National League of Cities Project
Council-member Ann Horton Attends NLC Conference in D.C.
In an effort to improve the lives of low to moderate-income families during a time of economic uncertainty, the City of Bryan was selected by the National League of Cities (NLC) to participate in a two day Leadership Academy to foster asset building among residents. Bryan Council-member Ann Horton attended The Helping Families Achieve Financial Stability Leadership Academy that was held March 17-18 in Washington, D.C. with representation from over thirty towns and cities ranging in size and from across the country.
The leadership academy assisted Bryan and other participant cities in learning the steps and best practices entailed in developing an asset-building agenda to help residents become financially secure. The topics covered included financial literacy; homeownership counseling and foreclosure prevention; asset accumulation strategies such as savings campaigns and Individual Development Account programs; and asset protection to help families avoid predatory lending practices and other wealth-stripping traps.
I believe that strong families strengthen the entire city, said Council-member Horton. The conference gave me an opportunity to learn how other cities are meeting the needs of low- to moderate-income families, and I was able to share with them some of the things we are doing in Bryan, Horton added.
One of the local initiatives Council-member Horton is referring to is the United Way of the Brazos Valley teaming with other community stakeholders to implement a Financial Strategies Partnership. The initial focus of that partnership is on a free tax-prep site to help families take advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and qualify for the Economic Stimulus Package recently passed by Congress. A second phase of the local partnership will focus on identifying families that can qualify for Individual Development Accounts (IDA) to help establish a pattern of savings to build financial assets. In addition, other poverty reduction initiatives by Project Unity and the B/CS Family Solutions have utilized strategies such as Poverty Simulations to engage and educate the community on the day-to-day challenges facing low income families.
Participants also learned strategies to reach out to their communities and measure the impact that asset-building programs have on residents. During the final session, participants shared their excitement about the new initiatives they were eager to begin developing. The YEF Institute will continue to work with cities that need assistance in developing their asset-building agendas.
I came back with many strategies and ideas that have been tested across the country, which we can implement in Bryan to impact and improve the quality of life for our citizens, Councilmember Horton concluded.
Strengthening America through stronger cities, towns, and villages, the National League of Cities is the oldest and largest national organization for American cities. The NLC serves as a resource and an advocate for 18,000 cities, towns, and villages which collectively serve 225 million people. The City of Bryan is proud to learn from this organization and looks forward to implementing the strategies Council-member Horton learned.
Additional Contact Information
Abby Hughes Holsclaw
National League of Cities
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