One month ago, on May 6th, the first cohort of 10 families completed the Move to PROSPER pilot program. This three-year pilot was designed to help single mothers with children under the age of 13 in Franklin County improve their quality of life by providing safe, healthy, and affordable rental housing in high resourced neighborhoods.
Building on the idea that housing and financial stability can improve the outcomes for children and families, the program combines rental assistance, one-on-one coaching, cohort-based programs, peer learning, and relocation to affordable rental housing to provide families new opportunities. The Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) was proud to support this initial effort as it goes to the heart of the Agency’s mission: opening the doors to a place to call home.
The pilot program has seen great success and Move to PROSPER recently released an impact report, outlining how the rental assistance and support services benefited the ten families. Participants have seen a reduction in stress, improvements in physical and mental health for all family members, and improved financial incomes. The average income for families in the program increased by $17,000 or 58% over the three-year period. The majority of the families are planning to stay in their current neighborhoods, allowing them to thrive and plan for future success.
Even with the economic impact of the pandemic, the Move to PROSPER families did not miss one rent payment since the start of the pandemic. A clear indication that the financial wellness and literacy component of the program had a significant impact. One parent is quoted in the report saying:
"The programs taught me how to budget. They taught me how to save. They helped me learn healthy habits that literally changed what could have been a very scary outcome for my family. The pandemic would have really set us back if I hadn't learned these skills from the program which better prepared us for the unexpected."
The Move to PROSPER pilot initiative, developed at the City and Regional Planning program at The Ohio State University and supported by various community organizations, is now positioned for growth and aims to help 100 Central Ohio families through its next initiative "Empower 100".
OHFA is proud to have been a partner in the pilot program and we look forward to seeing what is next for Move to PROSPER and the participating families. To learn more about the program, visit movetoprosper.org.