Financial Opportunity Center to aid local families battle poverty

Published 7:40 pm Thursday, May 25, 2023

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ForKids officials celebrated the opening of its new Suffolk Financial Operating Center at the Birdsong Center Tuesday, May 23 with a ribbon cutting event.

Financial Operating Centers provide financial coaching centers to help low-income families achieve their financial and personal goals. ForKids will hire four coaches for these FOCs and assist 100 participants a year.

The new centers, in Suffolk and Chesapeake, were made possible with funding from the Local Initiatives Support Corporation Hampton Roads and Virginia Natural Gas, which each provided a $300,000 grant and $250,000 contribution respectively.

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“Virginia Natural Gas is thankful of our long-standing relationship with ForKids and grateful for the work that they are doing to improve lives in our community,” said Robert Duvall, president of Virginia Natural Gas. “ForKids’ financial mobility approach to improving people’s lives through supportive coaching is critical for participant’s long-term success. Our hope is that these Financial Opportunity Centers will help Hampton Roads residents achieve their career, financial and personal goals.”

The FOCs are designed to help break the cycle of poverty and help to create opportunity for families to achieve greater economic self-sufficiency.

“ForKids’ mission is breaking the cycle of homelessness and poverty. For too long all our resources have gone to addressing homelessness. The opening of the Financial Opportunity Centers in Chesapeake and Suffolk gives meaningful tools to lift families out of poverty,” ForKids Chief Executive Officer Thaler McCormick said. “We are grateful to LISC Hampton Roads and Virginia Natural Gas for believing in our work and investing in this community.”

During the ceremony, he that the FOC’s will provide help to families trying to escape the quicksand that is poverty.

“It pulls you in and doesn’t easily let go. A sick child, a car repair, or any unexpected cost can cause you to lose your housing and start all over again,” McCormick said. “We are here to change that.”

ForKids is one of the largest providers of services to families experiencing homelessness and poverty in Virginia. The ForKids Housing Crisis Hotline, which serves 14 cities and counties in Hampton Roads, is the central point of contact for all persons experiencing a housing crisis throughout Southeastern Virginia. On any given day, ForKids in-depth programs assist about 290 families including 870 children and provides critical services to more than 70,000 individuals each year.

The Suffolk Financial Operating Center is located in the ForKids Birdsong Center, 119 W Constance Rd.