The holiday season is a time for gratitude and giving back, but as we enter a new year, that sentiment shouldn’t disappear. January is Poverty Awareness Month, an annual observance dedicated to raising awareness about the challenges and complexities of poverty. It is also a time for fostering a deeper understanding of its impact on individuals, families and communities impacted by poverty.
Throughout the month, various organizations and advocacy groups engage in campaigns to shed light on the multifaceted aspects of poverty. Poverty remains a pervasive global issue affecting millions of people. It encompasses socioeconomic hardship as well as disparities in healthcare and education. Poverty Awareness Month serves as a platform to not only amplify the voices of those affected by poverty but also to dispel myths and stereotypes and encourage collective action to alleviate its effects.
Poverty and Homeownership
Owning a home is often considered a cornerstone of financial stability and wealth accumulation. However, navigating the mortgage industry can be daunting for those living in poverty, with barriers ranging from access to credit to simply a lack of access to financial tools and resources. Recognizing and addressing these challenges is essential for fostering inclusivity and reducing the disparities in homeownership rates.
Fighting Poverty Through Financial Education
Poverty — which impacts 17% of Chicago residents — remains a persistent issue.
One solution to aid in combating poverty and homelessness is financial education programs, led by experts in the financial field such as mortgage loan originators. Financial education is a key enabler of personal and community well-being. It equips individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate the complex world of personal finance, make informed decisions and build a secure financial future.
How Financial Experts Like You Can Help
For financial professionals looking to volunteer in Chicago, several opportunities allow individuals to leverage their financial expertise to make a positive impact. Some organizations to look into include:
Junior Achievement of Chicago: Junior Achievement focuses on providing financial literacy education to young people. Financial professionals can volunteer to teach students about financial concepts, entrepreneurship and career readiness.
Chicago Community Loan Fund: The Chicago Community Loan Fund works to provide financial resources to support community development initiatives. Financial professionals can volunteer to assist with financial analysis, loan underwriting and impact investing.
Ladder Up: Ladder Up provides free financial services to help low-income individuals and families move up the economic ladder. Financial professionals can volunteer for tax assistance programs, financial coaching and workshops.
The Key Mortgage KeysToHome Program
Here at Key Mortgage Services, we created KeysToHome. KeysToHome is a comprehensive endeavor aimed at educating individuals about homeownership from inception to completion.
The program is designed to establish enduring connections with community members and offer educational support at every stage of the homebuying process. From imparting financial planning knowledge to guiding individuals through mortgage closing and beyond, KeysToHome seeks to empower participants.
While these seminars are open to all community members, the primary focus is on individuals facing financial challenges or those seeking a deeper understanding of the mortgage process and the intricacies of homeownership.
Through our jobs and volunteer opportunities, we aim to assist families in need, helping them “unlock the path to homeownership” and building a foundation for stronger, more resilient communities.