Empowering people to manage their finances - Humanitas Financial Home Administration Programme

Improving people’s financial and administrative skills to promote active inclusion

 

Financial Home Administration is a programme carried out by Humanitas to provide support to people not being able to manage independently their financial and administrative work. This project represents a social innovation as it fills in a gap in the service provision by starting before the classic debt reliefservices foreseen in the Netherlands and concretely addressing a new need emerged in society as consequence of the economic crisis (and of the increasing necessity of making choices in a liberalized economy: pensions, insurances, utilities etc). The project aims at preventing social poverty and social exclusion. In addition, it contributes to the empowerment of users improving their skills and abilities as well as promoting their active inclusion and (re)integration in society.

The support given by volunteers is mostly short term and it is adapted according to the specific needs of the users. Examples of users are: people experiencing financial troubles (i.e. as consequence of bankrupt, indebtedness or displacement); young adults having difficulties with financial management (i.e.as consequence of illiteracy or low level of education); ex-prisoners needing administrative support to reintegrate into society. In order to evaluate the effectiveness of this service and its impact on people’s life, Humanitas commissioned an in-depth research to the University of Tilburg. This innovative method of evaluation represents a source of evidence-based information which can be used to better allocate resources in the future development and implementation of Humanitas projects.

Being part of this programme, users acquire new financial skills and abilities and learn (step by step) how to independently manage their administrative work. This program offers them a concrete help to overcome existing financial troubles and to prevent problems to become more serious. The findings of the research carried out by the University of Tilburg show that the high quality of support received is one of the most important sources of satisfaction of the users of this programme. Users indicate to have experienced activating incentives and a safe space to exercise with new/renewed skills.

Learning new skills and acquiring new abilities as well as establishing a personal relation with the volunteer, users improve their self-confidence and independency. Based on the value of solidarity and independence, the support offered by volunteers is more than merely ‘administrative’ and contributes to the empowerment of the user and her/his (re)integration in society.

 

 

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