West Philly’s People’s Emergency Center creates financial assistance offshoot

A resident of Mantua in West Philadelphia passes by a mural in the neighborhood, which was recently selected as a Promise Zone by President Obama. Credit: Charles Mostoller/METRO
A resident of Mantua in West Philadelphia passes by a mural in the neighborhood, which was recently selected as a Promise Zone by President Obama. Credit: Charles Mostoller/METRO

The People’s Emergency Center for more than 15 years has been serving needy families in West Philadelphia and beyond, helping them with job training, housing, counseling and more.

It was the realization that more financial advice was needed for these families — consisting mostly of women and their children — and today, the Financial Opportunity Center officially opens.

The new center, through the PEC, will help residents improve their finances through education, coaching, job placement programs, public benefits and more.

“We’re helping people break through that financial barrier,” said Farah Jimenez, PEC president and CEO. “Some of these people never had a bank account. We help them remove their fears.”

These financial help tools were always a part of PEC but had never before been “coordinated in an integrated fashion,” Jimenez said.

“Now, what we’re really looking at is sitting down and providing a deliberate plan,” she added. “If you come into the center, we’re going to also have a conversation about where you are in your financial life plan and coaching that part of it.”

And all of this comes just in time for President Barack Obama’s announcement that the Mantua neighborhood in West Philadelphia is now a “Promise Zone” — one of five communities in the United States selected to get resources that will help cut through red tape.

This doesn’t necessarily mean aid money but it gives neighborhoods an extra boost when applying for community grants.

“One of the key goals in the Promise Zone,” Jimenez said, “is to increase employment and job opportunity. The Promise Zone at its core is also about collaboration.” PEC has teamed up with other local groups like Drexel University volunteer centers to implement the strategy.

Marketing is key too, said Jimenez. “How we collaborate means we can share with people more. We’re looking to do much more coordination in terms of marketing in the neighborhood.”

This means creating an online catalog of resources that is available to the community, text message alerts of festivals, volunteer opportunities and more, and also, door-to-door meetings.

Today, at 10:30 a.m., PEC and other community partners and residents are participating in a Employer Resource Fair at 3750 Lancaster Ave. for a “rocket launch” signifying opportunity for residents to launch their careers at the new Financial Opportunity Center.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 29,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on August 29, 31 and 31. Several streets and avenues will be…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…