Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
MissionACHIEVEability, located in Philadelphia, permanently breaks the generational cycle of poverty for low income, single parent, and homeless families through higher education, affordable housing, supportive services, community and economic development, and accountability.
What We DoSince its founding by the Sisters of Mercy, business executives and professionals, and homeless women in 1981, ACHIEVEability works each day to permanently break the generational cycle of poverty for low-income and homeless families through higher education, affordable housing, supportive services, community and economic development, and accountability. We provide case management to under-served individuals and families to address the inter-related social challenges of poverty, high unemployment, and low educational attainment. We achieve this goal through our three core programs: Family Self-Sufficiency Program, ACHIEVEability Connects, and WorkSmart West Philly. Each year we help over 2,800 individuals and families meet their basic needs and move towards stability. Many participants come from the Haddington and Cobbs Creek neighborhoods of West Philadelphia. This community is hard-hit by poverty. In our primary service area, zip code of 19139, the poverty rate is 34.5% compared to Philadelphia's 24.3% poverty rate.
Family Self-Sufficiency Program (FSSP): This transformational program is built upon the belief in a college education as the pathway to self-sufficiency, the use of a high accountability model, and the recognition that parents are role models for their children in fulfilling our mission to break the generational cycle of poverty. Families experiencing or at-risk of homelessness are provided affordable housing and a coaching team and commit to pursuing post-secondary credentials to overcome poverty. In FY21, FSSP served 124 families and 282 children with the following impact: 91% of families connected to permanent housing; 51% of parents increased their annual earned income since program entry with an average gain of $12,208; and 100% of school-age children persisted in school.
Overall Goals of FSSP:
- Increase the number of parents who have post-secondary degrees or professional credentials
- Increase the number of families employed with living wages and benefits
- Help parents advance their careers and build financial assets
ACHIEVEability Connects: Since 2006, this program has connected West Philadelphia families to the following basic needs services: public benefits connection; emergency financial assistance; tax preparation services; financial education; digital access and literacy trainings; and civic engagement opportunities. This program also focuses on improving neighborhood conditions by providing technical assistance to 60th Street Commercial Corridor businesses and supporting local civic groups, cleaning, safety and beautification projects, and health and wellness programs. In FY21, ACHIEVEability Connects served 2,577 individuals with 527 receiving free tax preparation services; 177 connecting to and enrolling in public income supports; and 216 receiving emergency financial assistance.
Overall Goals of ACHa Connects:
- Lead equitable and inclusive economic development activities in the Haddington and Cobbs Creek neighborhoods to create economically vibrant and thriving communities
- Deepen the continuum of anti-poverty services and civic engagement opportunities for residents to meet their immediate and long-term needs and to strengthen the community
- Promote a safe and beautiful neighborhood by eliminating and preventing blight, and supporting 60th Street Commercial Corridor businesses to make it a destination to live, learn, work, play, and shop
WorkSmart West Philly: Launched in 2014, this program partners with jobseekers to expand their employment-focused economic opportunities and increase their employability through job readiness and soft-skills trainings, employer cultivation, employment connections, and job retention coaching. In FY21, 163 jobseekers developed resumes; 105 participated in workshops; and 54 connected to employment.
This past year, we implemented our first cohort of TechUp, an innovative, paid training program that provides low-income, un/underemployment individuals with Salesforce Administration training and certification along with soft skills coaching to access sustainable, living-wage careers in the business technology sector.
Overall Goals of WSWP:
- Connect jobseekers to living-wage employment opportunities
- Increase financial stability for individuals
- Reduce the poverty rate in our service area
We know that the supportive services we provide work. Through our track record of success, we have seen program participants increase their income, get their taxes paid, achieve housing stability, and reduce their reliance on public subsidies. However, just as poverty in this community is the result of decades of disinvestment, it will take consistent re-investment to put an end to intergenerational poverty in West Philadelphia.