This year, Lift Up Sarpy County led the 100-Day Challenge, an ambitious collaborative initiative designed to accelerate community- and state-level efforts to improve the financial stability for a group of families and young adults to ensure they have the best opportunities to thrive.
Lift Up Sarpy County was selected by the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative as one of two sites nationwide to embark on the intense, multi-stakeholder 100-Day Challenge to engage local partners to address the needs of young adults and vulnerable families. During the challenge, Lift Up Sarpy County partnered with Nebraska Children and Families Foundation to develop innovative ways to align public and private resources in Sarpy County to create new economic avenues for 51 families and young adults who are already accessing assistance through Community Response and Project Everlast.
The Challenge involved combining state and federal resources with local banking partners to ensure youth and families have access to predator-free asset purchase supports, low-interest loans and microloans, and wealth development through the accumulation of valued assets.
In the past 100 days, the effort helped 51 families experience an increase in financial stability, positively affecting the lives of an estimated 84 children. Additionally, through new partnerships with Eastern Nebraska Community Action Partnership (ENCAP), Promise Ship, and Heartland Family Service, Sarpy County will gain its first housing access point for the homeless.
The Challenge garnered the following results:
- 22 families obtained higher-paying jobs through the replication of the Douglas County Employment Access Point. ResCare Workforce Services and Heartland Workforce Solution partnered with 20 local employers, each offering positions paying an average wage of $11.25 per hour at 34 hours per week. These agencies referred two families to Legal Aid for help asserting their rights under Nebraska’s new criminal record lookback law, which will take effect in July. In addition, 10 families are currently in the hiring process pending official offers of employment.
- Family Housing Advisory Services enrolled six young adults in Opportunity Passport and expanded the program to families served by Community Response through financial education and credit counseling. Eight families obtained more affordable housing, six families received loans to clear a debt or purchase an asset, and 12 more families are awaiting final approval for matches and loans.
- Pinnacle Bank established partnerships in eight Sarpy County ZIP codes and provided access to second-chance banking, low-interest debt consolidation loans, and other financial services in all 11 ZIP codes. Three families have opened accounts at one of Pinnacle’s branch locations, and it is expected that more families will do so in the future.
- 26 new households were served by Legal Aid of Nebraska through walk-in clinics, one-on-one attorney consultations, and legal representation. Legal Aid was able to help families with wage garnishments, judgments, and child support and custody orders, and they are currently in the process of helping three families file for bankruptcy.
In addition to the tremendous gains participants experienced, another great success was that the initiative fostered momentum and communication among financial professionals and social service organizations. The 100-Day Challenge mobilized community action and was able to establish bold and creative ways to build a system response to problems. But, the success does not end with 51 families. Efforts will continue to help more families and young adults in Sarpy County. The 100-Day Challenge laid the foundation for what is vital in establishing true stability for these individuals.