By: Tamara Orozco
Where can families, students and others find one-stop free financial services to help them get out of debt, save money and become financially self-sufficient? SparkPoint. Help is not too far away, as United Way Bay Area’s network of 22 SparkPoint Centers offer services in all eight Bay Area counties.
At UWBA’s new SparkPoint Center at the College of San Mateo, students and community members can now get one-on-one coaching to help them take control of their finances. Financial coaches help clients increase their income, manage credit and build assets.
“This launch marks an important milestone for UWBA, the San Mateo Community College District, and the community because it means that every community college student in San Mateo County now has access to these services. Our other SparkPoint Centers at Cañada and Skyline Colleges have already served thousands of students in San Mateo County, and with the cost of living having risen by 49% in the county in the past 4 years, the need for support services is greater than ever. We know that SparkPoint can help stabilize a family’s financial situation so that students can stay in school and complete their education, leading to long-term economic success,” says Ena Yasuhara Li, Vice President of Community Impact at United Way Bay Area.
Last year, SparkPoint Centers provided over 4,600 Bay Area residents with free one-on-one financial coaching.
In addition to offering an array of financial services to those struggling, SparkPoint at College of San Mateo provides a food pantry, hosted in partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank. A recent study from the Wisconsin HOPE Lab revealed that two-thirds of community college students struggle with food insecurity, half are housing insecure, one-third are regularly hungry and 14 percent are homeless. Through its SparkPoint Centers, UWBA is working to address these issues in San Mateo County and throughout the Bay Area.
To view photos from the launch of SparkPoint College of San Mateo, visit here.