The Invest Atlanta Board of Directors recently approved a $100,000 Westside TAD Community Improvement Fund grant to help fund a new Westside Financial Capability Center in Vine City. Once open, the center will provide residents with financial counseling, entrepreneurship training and homeownership education.
Statistics provided by Invest Atlanta show that 44 percent of adults on the Westside live below the poverty line, and the average credit score is around 500. The lack of private banking options in the area means 80 percent of residents are unbanked with limited access to affordable financial services. Those without a bank account are often left with no other option than to turn to payday lending or check cashing businesses that charge exorbitant interest rates and fees. Unable to gain their financial footing, many Westside residents find it difficult, if not impossible, to obtain a loan to buy a home or start a business.
The Westside Financial Capability Center will initially open a temporary site on Joseph E. Boone Boulevard in the former home of Westside Works. AMBFF is providing the space pro bono, and the TAD grant funding from Invest Atlanta will be used to purchase computers, IT equipment, office and classroom furniture and signage at the site.
It’s anticipated that by the end of 2018, the Center will move into a permanent home and begin to offer a full range of transactional financial services.