By Jill Winsor
At Neighborhood Partnerships we believe that often the best solutions come out of the nexus between big ideas and lived experience. Which is why we are so excited about Asset Builders Unite!, an event (thought up by Carlos Garcia at Hacienda CDC, Quin Collins at College Dreams and Rebekah Barger at CASA of Oregon) that creates space for asset building practitioners to rub shoulders with policy thinkers.
On July 19th, we hosted a group of asset builders and financial capability service providers at Lucky Lab in northwest Portland to connect with each other, share best practices, share stories about what’s happening in their communities, and dig deep into the issue of student loan debt. Three amazing legal minds joined us – Michael Fuller (the Underdog Lawyer), Tim Eblen (with Eblen Freed PC law firm) and NP’s amazing board member, Robert Le (of Robert Le Law).
Michael, Tim, and Robert shared information about some of the incredibly predatory practices taking place in the student loan arena, including excessive fees for debt collection. They also encouraged financial counselors to be on the lookout for changes in federal policy that may affect student debt restructuring. Our group of asset builders shared stories of the student loan debt experiences their clients are facing or they themselves are facing and asked case-specific questions to drill down into how best navigate this issue.
The practitioners in the room also each shared exciting news from their work. Stand outs included Riley Eldridge from MESO talking about the wild success of their credit building program, Carlos Garcia from Hacienda CDC talking about the new partnerships Hacienda is developing with the Prosperity Agenda to work on client centered design, Mary Vasquez from Point West Credit Union talking about their non-citizen lending program, and Mary Li from Multnomah Idea Lab inviting folks to participate in the racial wealth divide book club they are hosting to discuss Toxic Inequality by Thomas Shapiro.
We look forward to all of the brilliant connections and ideas that will come out of this incredible group of people. If you are interested in participating in Asset Builders Unite! and you aren’t yet on the email list, connect with Jill Winsor.
Thanks so much to our sponsors – Point West Credit Union, Beneficial State Foundation, JP Morgan Chase and Bank On Oregon!