Something as simple as banking isn’t so simple for many people.
Navigating the financial supports available to people living with low income means filling out forms, answering personal questions, reading and signing documents — all actions that can be overly complicated to the client trying to get the service.
The people trying to help don’t always have all the tools available to make this process as easy and useful for the client as it could be either.
To help both the clients and the service providers understand all the financial services available and how to access them effectively, the Skills Centre in Trail is launching a two-year Financial Navigation Training program.
“We want to empower adults and families living with low income to improve their financial wellbeing. We want to see an increase in their knowledge of the benefits to which they are entitled and in their ability to access them,” says Jaime Malcolm, programs manager at the Skills Centre.
“We will also be working with service providers from community and literacy services to share information, tools, resources and best practices so that they can be the best source of help for people living with low income and unaware of the benefits available to them,” she adds.
The Skills Centre is partnering with the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL) to deliver the new program throughout the Kootenay and Boundary regions.
“Literacy is more than just reading; it is about having the tools you need to participate fully in a modern world. Financial skills are no different. Being able to understand how to manage your financial health is just as important as your physical health,” says Desneiges Profili, executive director of CBAL.
“Participating in a project of this magnitude will help to build the capacity of service providers to support community members in expanding their knowledge and gaining important skills to add to their toolkit. We are excited to launch this project with the Skills Centre and to continue building resilient communities through literacy and lifelong learning,” Profili says.
This new program will run in 16 communities across the Columbia Basin and Boundary region with a series of workshops over the next two years. They are starting by looking for input from service providers and adults living with low income to help create the most effective content for everyone.
The Financial Navigation Training program is funded in part by the Government of Canada's Social Development Partnerships Program.
The Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy is the Basin and Boundary's only not-for-profit literacy organization, working in 77 communities across south-eastern British Columbia.
The Skills Centre is a non-profit strengthening rural and industrial communities and workplaces in BC through workforce skills development, training services, social development and poverty reduction programming. It offers skills training and wellness programs for youth, mature workers and equity deserving groups to build a caring community of skilled, productive and engaged people.