United Way Re-Opens SparkPoint Oakland Financial Help Center for Low-Income Residents
Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Oakland Mayor Jean Quan Attend Re-Opening of SparkPoint Financial Education Center.
OAKLAND, CA, USA (January 31, 2013)
-- TheUnited Way of the Bay Areawill holdan Open House and Ribbon-Cutting today, Thursday, January 31, from 3:00 to 5:30p.m., to celebrate the new downtown Oakland location for SparkPoint, the financialeducation center that offers a wide range of services to help people achieve financialstability. Scheduled to be on hand for the ribbon cutting are Congresswoman BarbaraLee, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, and Councilperson Desley Brooks.The SparkPoint program now has 10 Bay Area locations, as well as three locations inFresno and Orange County. Today's ribbon-cutting on the Oakland SparkPoint center at Eastmont Town Center is partly a celebration of the first SparkPoint Center thatopened in Oakland in March 2009. With the relocation to the Eastmont Town Center,SparkPoint now has a larger facility in a permanent home ready to assist East Bayresidents.The SparkPoint Centers have offered a model for community outreach to assistfamilies in achieving financial sustainability. SparkPoint brings together non-profit andgovernment partners to help its clients increase their income, build assets, and managetheir debt. Clients are assigned a financial coach who works with them for two to threeyears to help them achieve financial stability.Since it was founded, more than 8,000 individuals have received assistance fromSparkPoint Oakland. The typical SparkPoint client is female, head of household,earning $30,000 or less. With the aid of SparkPoint services, the average client is ableto raise his or her credit score by 80 points, increase savings $215, reduce debt by$1,710, and increase annual income by $9,132."Finding a permanent home for SparkPoint Oakland has always been our goal, andwith the move to Eastmont Town Center, we now have a central location that will makeour services more accessible to better serve the community," said Lorne Needle, Chief Community Investment Officer for United Way of the Bay Area. "Seventeen and one-half percent of Oakland residents currently live below the poverty line. With supportfrom services such as SparkPoint, we hope to be able to help low-income residents