Your partner abruptly leaves the relationship.
Your only transportation has stopped working and needs major repairs…
You suddenly face a costly, major medical issue…
For suburban women who experiences such a life-changing event, the financial impact can be immense. Any such incident can set off a cascade of additional hardships as financial resources stretch to the breaking point. What began as a single incident can quickly blossom into a full-fledged family crisis, leading to bankruptcy, eviction, even homelessness. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Now, women in Pittsburgh have somewhere to turn if disaster strikes. With funding from the United for Women campaign of the United Way of Allegheny County, South Hills Interfaith Ministries (SHIM), North Hills Community Outreach (NHCO), and NeighborWorks of Western PA (NWWPA) are offering a new program – Smart Investments – that is designed to prevent sudden financial hardship from spiraling out of control.
Smart Investments turns moments of crisis into windows of opportunity by pairing immediate assistance – in the form of targeted financial grants – with long-term financial skill-building.
Small financial grants of up to $500 are used to help ease a specific crisis, such as an inoperable vehicle, utilities in threat of termination, or an eviction notice. Women who receive grants are encouraged to participate in a series of financial education workshops designed to increase their knowledge in all areas of the use and management of money. In addition, participants work one-on-one with financial counselors and volunteer coaches to build skills in budgeting, saving, debt reduction, and credit repair.