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Financial Opportunity Centers support local residents through economic opportunity, training and coaching

7.28.2020

LISC Twin Cities is an organization geared towards revitalizing communities by helping bring economic opportunity to local residents. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused deep economic turmoil and increased disparities throughout our nation; many of our communities need more economic opportunities now, more than ever. In turn, we are increasing our capacity in order to help serve more community members in the Twin Cities. 


LISC Twin Cities convenes a network of local nonprofit partners to implement the Financial Opportunity Center (FOC) model. FOCs use an integrated services model that combines workforce training, financial coaching and screening for income supports, to assist low- to moderate-income families achieve their financial goals. Between March and June of this year, over 140 Twin Cities residents have accessed FOCs for support around applying to unemployment insurance or accessing emergency cash assistance for rent/mortgage payments, utilities (including internet access), and purchasing laptops or tablets.

Our FOC partners include: Better Futures, Build Wealth MN, CAPI USA, CLUES, Emerge Community Development, International Institute of MN, Karen Organization of MN, Lutheran Social Services MN, and Project for Pride in Living. With their help, we identified three key community needs: applying for Paycheck Protection Program loans, general access to technology, and support navigating local, state and federal policies on COVID-19 relief to provide community members with reliable information, such as the federal stimulus checks, and eviction moratoriums. 

In response to these needs, LISC Twin Cities regranted $210,000 to support our FOC partners in their COVID-19 emergency response. These funds have been used to obtain technology for staff and clients, provide emergency cash assistance, and support the ability for FOC staff to deliver remote services and distance learning. We’ve also established a channel into a wholesale tech provider that enabled our partners to buy more than 200 laptops at a reduced price for their staff and clients. Finally, LISC has continued to host webinars with policy experts to provide FOC staff and their clients reliable information on COVID19 economic relief efforts. 

As we continue to help revitalize communities by helping to bring economic opportunity to local residents through FOCs, we’ll continue to work closely with our partners to keep providing workforce training, financial coaching, and resources to further increase our ability to serve the local community and assist families to achieve their financial goals. We’re also looking for new partners so we can expand the benefits of FOC's to more community members.