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
International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Local

De Blasio, Bratton defend city's efforts after Eric…

Mayor Bill de Blasio justified the city's response to the death of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died while in police custody earlier this month.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.