VOA Texas $5.6 Million to Expand FOC Programs

The Volunteers of America Texas' Financial Opportunity Center (FOC) will be able to expand its services to more people in need of financial assistance in the Houston area, thanks to a grant received by the United States Health and Human Services agency.

VOA Texas was awarded the Healthcare Professionals Opportunity (HPO) grant in the amount of $5,614.880 by the agency's Administration for Children and Families program. The funds will be dispersed over a five year period, which will allow the organization to help 1,500 more individuals over the life of the grant.

"We are thrilled at the opportunity to grow the Financial Opportunity Center," said Danita Wadley, regional director of Houston programs for Volunteers of America Texas. "This additional funding will allow our Financial Opportunity Center to impact so many more individuals who need our support."

The FOC offers an array of services to help individuals gain long-term financial stability by empowering individuals with critical skills and tools using a proven, research-based curriculum.

Its services include: Employment services, job readiness workshops, job placement, retention and career advancement assistance; job skills training and certification such as computer classes, financial coaching and financial literacy workshops; tax preparation services and access to fairly priced financial products and services through partnering banks and credit unions; and income support for eligible individuals consist of food stamps, health insurance and Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The HPO grant is designed to assist individuals who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and other low income services recipients to access employment in high demand and higher wage medical jobs. The HPOG award will enable the FOC to serve an additional 300 people per year and implement more vocational cohorts in the medical arena, connecting VOA Texas' participants to lucrative employment.

"We anticipate adding more staff to accommodate the expansion and increase our partnerships in the community, especially in the medical community. This is a major win for helping those we serve achieve financial independence and economic stability," Wadley added.

Since its conception in February 2011 the FOC has helped more than 1,000 people.