Operation Come Home (OCH) provides employment, life-skills, and educational programs for street-involved and at-risk youth in the Ottawa area. The organization often serves as the first point of contact for at-risk youth to enter into various harm reduction, treatment, and/or counselling programs.
The transient and unstable nature of the lives of street-involved youth is one of the largest challenges youth face when trying to gain steady employment, finish high school, and/or establish stable homes.
Young people who access OCH services are not likely to have basic money management or budgeting skills. Many are in debt, use fringe financial institutions, and have little or no savings. These basic skills are important components to individual success in setting and achieving goals.
The following report tracks the experiences of 75 youth who were enrolled in the Finance Matters program at Operation Come Home from January 2012 to November 2013. Finance Matters is a four- to six-week financial literacy course that provides information on debt, savings, budgeting, credit and credit reports, investing, banking, income, and taxes. The goal of the program is for participants to increase their financial knowledge and develop the ability to make sound financial decisions.
Group and one-on-one coaching sessions are used to assist OCH youth in developing real-life financial plans for themselves. Youth are able to access ongoing support beyond their enrolment in the program, as well as develop short and long-term goals in order become and remain financially stable.
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