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Non-profit commissions lay foundation for economic mobility study

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The Methodist Healthcare Ministry of South Texas Inc. is launching a study on cash support and coaching — two forms of social intervention previously only assessed as separate strategies.

President and CEO Jaime Wesolowski said during a press conference on Wednesday that this is the first randomized control trial in the country to examine how the two interventions work together to support individuals and families working to emerge from poverty. how can work.

“The results of this study will inform strategies and funding decisions to be made around economic dynamism as we seek to advance health equity strategies that allow everyone to grow,” Wesolowski said.

MHM is half-owner of Methodist Healthcare System, the largest health care system in South Texas, which operates nine hospitals in the city.

The upcoming two-year study, called the San Antonio Goals Initiative, will be conducted by the University of Texas at San Antonio College of Health, Community and Policy with the help of two local nonprofits: Family Service and Empower House.

Family Services will recruit 575 families to participate in the study, and it will conduct a counseling program that helps people in poverty climb the economic ladder. Developed by Boston-based Economic Mobility Pathway, the model enables participants to set their goals in key areas including health, family life, career, finance, and education.

“We see for the first time the effects of intergenerational poverty and the challenges in trying to break the cycle,” said Mary Garr, president and CEO of Family Services. “This model provides a comprehensive approach to understanding the multifaceted challenges that exist for many individuals and families and helps find ways to address them in a sustainable manner.”

Empower House, formerly called the Martinez Street Women’s Center, will handle the cash assistance program, which will provide participants with $500 monthly payments via prepaid debit cards. Participants will be able to use the money in the ways that matter most to them, and Empower House SA will interview them to assess the potential impact of cash assistance on their eligibility for other programs.

Andrea Figueroa, executive director of Empower House, said she was honored to be a part of this research because the work of her nonprofit has historically focused “on the needs and priorities of Black Indigenous people of color community members and their families.” because we walk in their support.”

A team from the UTSA College of Health, Community and Policy will serve as independent, third-party evaluators for the study, ensuring that participants are randomly assigned to one of four groups – monthly cash assistance programs. The participants in the Mobility Mentoring, the participants in the Mobility Mentoring and Monthly Cash Assistance Program, and the control group are not receiving any intervention.

The Economic Mobility Study is open to residents of Bexar County, ages 18 to 60, whose household income does not exceed 150 percent of the federal poverty level, which does not exceed $41,625 for a family of four.

Participants must live in one of the following zip codes: 78201, 78228, 78237, 78207, 78204, 78225, 78214, 78221, 78224, 78226, 78211, 78222 or 78217.

Interested individuals may contact 210-431-7550 or visit www.family-service.org/goals to apply.

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