We introduced our Community Wealth Department in 2001 to help create pathways to homeownership for low-income families on the Eastside. ELACC created foreclosure prevention classes and resident capacity building as a strategy to help families preserve the assets and wealth they worked hard to build. Nearly two decades later, our slate of financial and homeownership education and counseling programming still play an integral role in how we promote financial empowerment in our community.
ELACC’s reputation for delivering impactful financial services to our community encouraged our current Board Treasurer, Daniel Rodriguez, to join ELACC as a Housing Counselor in 2008. At the time, predatory lending practices locked countless Eastside residents into unsustainable mortgages as the foreclosure crisis was beginning to devastate local families. Daniel was soon promoted to Director of Community Wealth and began growing the department to expand our services to include products and programs that helped more than just homeowners, adding financial counseling and engaging in local and federal consumer protection advocacy efforts.
“We understood that what our community really needed was a comprehensive strategy to help residents not only navigate the complex processes required to save their homes or part from them with dignity, but programming to help build and sustain wealth and policy advocacy to change the systems that created economic instability at the root,” said Rodriguez.
In 2010, Daniel hired our current director, Elba Schildcrout, to serve as a Foreclosure Prevention Counselor. Five years under her leadership, the department’s services now include financial coaching for small businesses and emerging entrepreneurs, permit application assistance for street vendors, matched savings accounts, and peer lending circles that allow participants to build credit safely. Elba also oversees our services to our tenants and neighbors, including social and wellness programs like our monthly food pantry program, online yoga classes, and new this year, a virtual flu season workshop.
“Ten years later, I am still with ELACC because I see myself and my family in the people we help. I was raised by a single mother and entrepreneur who supported four kids on her own while running a small business,” said Schildcrout. “When I work with a community member struggling to build their business and care for their family, I remember what it was like growing up in a single room with five people—I lived in a lot of the same conditions folks here experience. I want to have an impact on people like me.”
For more information on our services and information on how to register, please visit our website.