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5/3 Bank presents $65,000 grant to Adelante

By Kevin Milliken for La Prensa


Oct. 11, 2012: Fifth Third Bank helped jump-start to help Adelante, Inc. continue a pilot program aimed at assisting Latino and other families achieve stable finances and home ownership. The $65,000 grant was presented during a brief ceremony at the Latino resource center’s offices on Thursday, Oct. 11.


“We are thrilled to be able to support what we think is a fantastic organization and, even more importantly, a program that we think is going to have high impact on the community,” said Bob LaClair, president/CEO of Fifth Third Bank in Northwest Ohio.


Futuro Estable (Stable Future) program participants receive financial and homeownership counseling and education to improve their financial situation, purchase a home, maintain housing and make good financial decisions. The services provided help to protect against deceptive financial and housing practices, and increase access to financial products and decision-making tools. Participants learn about how to reduce debt, save and manage money, preserve or acquire housing and achieve other financial goals.


“What we’ve found is when we support programs that educate the community, we really do help to change lives—give people a good foundation to make great decisions and it improves the community and lives within the community,” said LaClair.


“It serves the entire community, but has a strong focus on helping the Latino community to build wealth,” explained Mary Price, Adelante, Inc. executive director. “To work toward that goal, we are offering financial literacy and homeownership workshops and one-on-one counseling.”


The bank’s grant will supplement $48,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding city officials recently awarded to Adelante. Those funds are renewable next year as well.


Most of the clients to be served are Spanish-speaking residents. The program has helped families save $85,000 over the past 18 months. The program also will provide a landlord-tenant mediation service, which is set to start in January.


“We are here to impact the lives of the people we serve and helping to build that wealth component is a big piece of that and building that family so they can live the best life possible,” said Ms. Price.


Adelante was one of four programs funded through what bank officials called a very competitive process for limited dollars. The agency also can compete for future funding.


“It is in line with our goals of supporting our flagship programs in terms of financial literacy and most importantly, in terms of building stronger communities through home ownership and providing financial counseling to individuals within the community that will allow them not only to manage their money, but develop budgets and purchase homes,” said Linda Ewing, senior VP of community affairs at Fifth Third Bank.


Ms. Ewing also noted the program will assist many families to rebuild their credit and provide stability through long-term home ownership. Ms. Ewing also has served many years on Adelante’s board of directors.


But while Adelante now has a stable funding source to grow its financial program, the non-profit agency is struggling to replace a state budget cut that has put its domestic violence efforts in jeopardy.


The organization’s long-time Hermanas Unidas (United Sisters) domestic violence education and prevention program lost $54,000 from the Lucas Co. Dept. of Job and Family Services. Adelante now is seeking private donations to make up that loss, citing it as a vital program which provides information, referral, and emotional support for Latino women who frequently don’t speak much English and have a hard time navigating the court system as a victim.


Ms. Price related one incident where a domestic violence victim who doesn’t speak English was arrested before bilingual Adelante staff could arrive at the scene to translate. Her husband, who did speak English, had told police she beat him with a baseball bat.


“Because she can’t express herself, can’t communicate with the officer, she ended up being arrested,” said the Adelante executive director. “That’s a part of the process for us, so we try to get there as soon as possible. Once she was arrested, we worked with legal services to make sure there was a clarification of what was going on.”


The woman already was trying to leave the abusive situation. The charges against her were later dropped after intervention by Adelante case workers.


“We are working on strengthening our community partnerships,” said Ms. Price without going into specifics. “We also provide that culturally sensitive component to the shelters, as well as we serve on a domestic violence task force that works with the courts. So we have a significant role in the domestic violence delivery system—which includes the courts, housing, and linking families with resources.”


Owens Corning provided the agency with a $3,000 grant last week.


Copyright © 1989 to 2012 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 10/16/12 18:49:20 -0700.



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