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					    Step Up Savannah
Savannah’s Poverty Reduction Initiative

Step Up Savannah Mission:
    The Step Up collaborative will enhance
    economic independence in Savannah by
    encouraging residents to take personal
    responsibility and organizations to
    identify and work to reduce barriers to
    self sufficiency; by finding, redistributing
    or creating the necessary resources; and
    by evaluating outcomes.

                Action Plan
          A community makes a plan
How do you address the
  magnitude of issues in
•   The City of Savannah initiated
    a task force in 2004 that
    researched and analyzed
    poverty and the “support
•   Key barriers to self-sufficiency
•   Poverty identified as an
    economic development issue
•   Poverty Simulations
                   Poverty Simulations

                                       • Identified poverty
                                         simulations as an
                                         engagement tool
                                       • Brought business
                                         actively and long-term
                                         to the table
                                       • Over 2500 participants
                                         go through poverty
                                         simulations from 2005-
Billy Carver, Commercial Fleet
Director of J.C. Lewis Ford tries to
“survive” the week in a poverty

          Step Up Savannah Priorities
                                    Economic Independence
         Workforce Development/ Adult                                          Financial
                  Education                                           Understanding/wealth building
     •   GED completion                                               # Un-banked to Banked
     •   Moving people into entry level jobs                          # of Financial Education
     •   Moving people to self sufficiency                            # Tax returns & EITC
     •   Benefits for low wage workers

                                            Work Supports
                                    Support goals of top two priorities
                                        Public Policy/Advocacy

    Dependent               Affordable              Energy                  Healthcare           Transportation
      Care                   Housing               Assistance

                                          Personal Motivation

Workforce Development: Working with
• Work Supports Program:
  – Increased number of employees using direct
    deposit, accessing the Earned Income Tax
    Credit and attending financial education
  – Conducted over 1000 benefits screenings at
    employer locations for Food Stamps and
    Peach Care Children Health Insurance
    integrated eligibility screening into new hire
    benefits’ sign-up processes

  Workforce Development: Centers for Working Families
  Characteristics: Bundling of Services

         Employment & Career
      Employment & Career                                           Financial Services
                                                                Financial Services & &
           Services                         & &                        Asset Building
                                                                   Asset Building
                                         Work Supports
                                      Work Supports

•Skills Assessment             •Benefit Screening            •Educational workshops and
•Job Readiness                 •Assistance with benefits     financial literacy classes
•Job Search                    applications and submission   •One-on-one financial
•Hard Skills Training            -Peachcare                  coaching and counseling
•Soft Skills Training            -TANF                       •Financial services products:
                                 -Food stamps                access to better priced
•Career Advancement                                          products
  -Academic Education            -Child care
                                                                -Savings Accounts
  -Skill training              •Tax Credits; EITC
                                                                -Check cashing
  -Career Advising             •Student Financial Aid
  7                                                             -Short & Long term Loans
             Step Up Savannah Priorities
                                         Economic Independence
         Workforce Development/ Adult                                          Financial
                  Education                                               Understanding/wealth
     •   GED completion                                                         building
     •   Moving people into entry level jobs                         # Un-banked to Banked
     •   Moving people to self sufficiency                           # of Financial Education
     •   Benefits for low wage workers                               # Tax returns & EITC

                                            Work Supports
                                    Support goals of top two priorities
                                        Public Policy/Advocacy

    Dependent               Affordable              Energy                  Healthcare           Transportation
      Care                   Housing               Assistance

                                               Personal Motivation

Asset Building: Financial Education
• Energy assistance program developed to
  target working poor with $50K grant from
  Georgia Power
   – 155 participants attend financial education
     classes for energy assistance
   – $200K in Emergency Assistance identified
     by Department of Family and Children to
     expand pilot
• 1600 people attend financial education
  classes in the last six months
Asset Building: Banking Taskforce

              Savannah Bank on Strategy
•Research with Clinton Foundation: 10K unbanked
•Aggressive Marketing in 2009-10 using United Way’s 211
  –Over 15,000 brochures distributed in neighborhoods
•Financial Education Providers
  –Integration of Bank on Savannah campaign with City
  departments, United Way agencies and other CBOs providing
  financial education classes
•Pilot Products and Programs in 2008-09
  –Alternate Rapid Anticipation Loan
  –Direct Deposit / Employer Sites
•Ongoing training/education for bank staff
 11                                             11
    Bank On Savannah Product Criteria
Common criteria highlights for all participating banks:

•    Open an account with less than $100 or free with direct deposit
•    No monthly maintenance fees or minimum monthly balance
•    Refund of first occurrence of NSF within first 12 months of
     opening account
•    Ability to open an account with negative or low credit score
     (bank discretion)
•    Willingness to negotiate or forgive owed restitutions on closed
     accounts (bank discretion)
•    Open an account for customers who have been in Chex
     Systems (bank discretion/fraud not considered)
•    Free ATM use at bank and free 24/7 online banking
•    Assistance with understanding bank policies through provided
     FDIC educational checklist and access to referrals for financial

Asset Building: Banking Taskforce
• 12 Banks and Credit Unions involved
• 412 accounts opened YTD
• Goal: 1,000 people expected to be banked in 2009
     – Ongoing training for bank officers through 2009
     – Ongoing marketing campaign throughout 2009
• Alternate Rapid Anticipation Loan (ARAL) with GA’s
  Own Credit Union
     – ARAL planning for 2009 City wide campaign started
     – 2008 pilot at 9 tax days resulted in 71 loans processed from 164
       returns (43% of total returns at pilot sites).
     – $370,254 total in refunds at pilot sites; $229,657 total in loans.
       $1,700 in losses, but $26,649 in funds retained in Credit Union
       accounts after 60 days. Average savings to clients estimated at
 Asset Building: Tax Returns & EITC

     Work Supports: Policy Issues
• Grant received from the Mary Reynolds Babcock
     – Funds will be used to create position at Georgia Legal Services
       that will focus on Public Policy with Step Up Savannah
• Transportation
     – Chatham Area Transit bus transfer policy reversed eliminating all
       transfer fees county-wide
• Affordable Housing Trust Fund
     – Long-standing goal of creating local Housing Fund to be reviewed
       and advocated for
• Education
     – Ongoing meetings with Superintendent & with Chair of School
       Board regarding the current perception of the Zero Tolerance
       Suspension Policy

Behavioral Economics
Traditional view: We’re rational agents, well informed with stable
preferences, controlled, self-interested, calculating

17                                                Source: Mindy Hernandez, Princeton University
Behavioral perspective: Mediocre judgment, malleable
preferences, make mistakes calculating risks and probability,
impulsive, myopic, driven by social desires and identities

Son, if you really want something in this life, you have to work
for it. Now quiet! They're about to announce the lottery
 18                                                Mindy Hernandez, Princeton University
• Step Up is contacted regularly by other cities
  (Charleston, Jacksonville, Pensacola, and Berlin,
  Germany in 2008) seeking technical assistance
  and/or information, including Congressional staff
  members seeking input on potential national
  poverty policy
• City of Savannah and Step Up Savannah participate
  with a cohort of cities: New York, San Francisco,
  Miami, Chicago, San Antonio, Seattle, called the
  Cities for Financial Empowerment all focused on
  asset building

      Poverty is a business issue as
      much as it is a human issue…”
                          – Eric R. Winger,
             President of Savannah Economic Development
             Authority and Step Up Savannah Board Member

     Step Up Savannah’s Poverty Reduction Initiative


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