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2016 annual luncheon of Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS)

On Friday, March 11th, we attended the 2016 annual luncheon of Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) of Greater Cleveland that was held at Bohemian National Hall on Broadway Avenue. IMG_8861 We walked in with Mr. David M. Eddy, VP Relationship Manager at PNC Bank who delivered the official "Welcome"  at the start of the program. But before the program started we got to visit with a few minutes with our friends, Ms. Angie Pohlman and Ms. Karen Schaefer with the Heights Hillcrest Chamber ofCommerce and talked about next week's primary election with Ms. Cindy Demsey with Cuyahoga Democratic Women's Caucus. At lunch we shared a table with Mr. Mike Fiala, NHS board member, and Ms. Michele Sims of Community Housing Solutions.

During the program, Mr. Lou Tisler, NHS Executive Director, talked about the mission of NHS which is  "to provide ongoing programs and services to help residents achieve, preserve, and, sustain the IMG_8860American Dream of home-ownership" and the people and the processes in Cuyahoga County that help to bring this about.

Each year at this luncheon, a testimonial is given by a NHS client and this year it was Mr. Brian Evans, a young professional in Cleveland who experienced several economic ups and downs due to a job layoff and inadequate financial planning. Through counseling at NHS and with the help of the CityLift program, which provides down payment assistance, and perseverance combined with the willingness to learn on his own part, Mr. Evans was able to finally purchase his own home and become financially stable.

The keynote speaker was Ms. Melissa Koide, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Consumer Policy at the U.S. Department of the Treasury who also served as the Executive Director of the President's Advisory IMG_8869Council on Financial Capability. Ms. Koide spoke about financial inclusion which Wikipedia defines as is "the delivery of financial services at affordable costs to sections of disadvantaged and low-income segments of society" and possible methods of achieving this.

Along these lines, Ms. Koide addressed the need to start at an early age to educate people about sound financial management; the best way to proceed when confronted with a financial emergency; and the need to have good financial products available to assist them.

One of the things that Ms. Koide talked about was, as her biography in the program notes stated, "the first ever national retirement account program, myRA highlighted by President Obama during a past State of the Union. myRA makes it easy and affordable to start saving for retirement...It's specifically designed for people who don't have a IMG_8868retirement savings plan through work, or lack other options for saving."

We were impressed by what she had to say and believe that it could be immensely helpful to immigrants and refugees who have relatively little money. We talked to Mr. Eddy about this and he graciously told us that he would be more than happy to explain myRA and other such programs to Global Cleveland and the Refugee Services Collaborative in Cleveland. We will see what we can do to hook him up with them.

Written by:

Michael Patterson 

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC.

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