MEDA is investing in people lives. Director of Asset Building Programs Lucy Arellano gives the community much-needed information about program enhancements and changes for the upcoming year.
MEDA: First off, will all MEDA programs remain free to low-income clients in 2017?
LA: All MEDA programs continue to be free with the exception of the First Time Homebuyers’ Workshop and certification. The fee for this certification is $50, and that includes the workshop, certificate, plus one year of quarterly credit report fees. Every other service at MEDA is free.
MEDA: What changes are there to the Welcome Orientation?
LA: We have made some very exciting upgrades to your Welcome Orientation! To sign up for any Asset Building program, clients should drop-in any Wednesday evening. The session is available in English or Spanish, and begins promptly at 5:45 p.m., going until about 8 p.m. This session allows clients to fill out necessary forms, learn about all of MEDA’s free services, get any questions answered and receive the full Financial Capability Education workshop. This workshop has been condensed to really focus on each client’s individual goals and dreams, and how Financial Capability Coaching at MEDA will help you reach them!
MEDA: What changes are there to the Financial Capability program?
LA: More than ever, we are focused on ensuring that every client has a safe and free bank account, is managing only healthy debt, has enough income to thrive, has emergency and long-term savings, and has a strong credit score. We remain focused on providing Financial Capability education and coaching as part of every program, and to connecting clients to all available resources such as public benefits, low-cost technology options, and savings and credit building products.
MEDA: What changes are there to the Business Development program?
LA: The Business Development program continues to offer a seven-week Business Development training for aspiring entrepreneurs. We are also continuing our focus on supporting existing local businesses to stay local, expand and grow. We are committed to connecting business owners to capital for their businesses to continue to thrive, and to create more local jobs. Additionally, MEDA’s Business Development program is a strong alternative to traditional workforce training and programming for clients who would like to work as independent contractors or other types of self-employment.
MEDA: What’s happening with the Community Loan Fund in 2017?
LA: Adelante Fund is working hard to ensure that we are providing local small businesses with the necessary capital to launch or expand. We currently can provide loans from $5000 to $100,000. Adelante Fund focuses on serving clients who may have challenges accessing capital through traditional lenders, and who are committed to creating more jobs in our community. In 2017, we hope to be able to offer loans up to $250,000. Stay tuned.
MEDA: What changes are there to the Free Tax Preparation program?
LA: Our Free Tax Preparation program continues all year, and ramps up Jan. 30 to April 18 for this traditional tax season. Appointments are now being scheduled through 211. This service is available 24 hours a day, in 150 languages. Just call 211 and ask to make a Tax appointment at MEDA. We look forward to helping you file your taxes, apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) if needed, connecting you with all tax credits and refunds for which you qualify, and linking you to any other resources and Asset Building services needed to benefit your family.
MEDA: What changes are there to the Workforce Development program?
LA: MEDA continues to be the Mission Neighborhood Access Point for workforce training, job-readiness assistance and job search support. We are excited to continue to grow our Mission Techies program, which provides free technology training to 17-24 years to get them on their way to a successful career in the that field. Our Bilingual Bank Teller training program for adults is expanding to provide more diverse training to connect the community to career pathways within the financial sector. This year we are launching a Business Services training program which will provide administrative and database training. These trainings can help clients launch or grow in the career and industry of their choice.
MEDA: What changes are there to the Housing Opportunities program?
LA: We want our clients to know that affordable housing in San Francisco is possible for all Latinos! We are really focused on getting clients rental and mortgage ready, and connecting families to quality, affordable housing. Through our Asset Building programs, we help families achieve sufficient income, credit and savings to apply for below-market-rate (BMR) opportunities or affordable, market-rate residences. Even if you’re not sure or doubt that you can be mortgage or rental ready, please come see us!
MEDA: Anything else of which MEDA clients should be aware for 2017 programs?
LA: If you live in the 94110 or 94113 ZIP codes and/or have children who attend Early Learning Centers in the Mission, Chavez Elementary School, Bryant Elementary School, Everett Middle School or John O’Connell High School, then you are a Mission Promise Neighborhood family. The Mission Promise Neighborhood network has 20+ partners ready to support your family’s housing, financial, medical, legal, academic and social needs.
MEDA has three buildings under construction that will all be affordable housing in the Mission (one just for seniors). Get ready now to increase your chances of qualifying for a residence!
Also, if you live in an apartment building that is for sale and you are at risk of losing your housing, please let us know. Our Community Real Estate team may be able to help!
Questions? Check out our FAQ’s.