UWMC and its partner, Goodwill of the Central Coast, are the backbone agencies for the Monterey County Prosperity Advisory Group (PAG). The PAG is a cross-sectoral coalition representing the diverse stakeholders involved in ensuring economic self-sufficiency in our County. Members develop and support strategies that address the key factors that affect prosperity: Access to Affordable and Quality Housing, Child Care, Transportation, Asset Growth and Management, Education, and Workforce Development. The PAG's first strategy is a Prosperity Planner, or financial coach. Prosperity Planners help residents create career plans, manage budgets, build credit and support system navigation through “Active” referrals. The Prosperity Planner has recruited eight members and is guiding them along the path to prosperity.
One member had a section 8 voucher, but struggled to find any landlords with a rental available. She and her son had been couch surfing for 3 years with friends or family. The Prosperity Planner advised the member to expand her network and ask friends, family, co-workers, etc. if they knew of any landlords with rentals. The member asked her child care provider, and the provider referred her to a landlord she knew who had housing available. The Prosperity Planner and the member called the landlord together to discuss the section 8 program. The landlord accepted, and now the member has a new home miles closer to her work and her son's school, allowing her to save money on gas and car repairs. The member now has new goals: going back to school and preparing to find a medical assistance program in the evenings after work. The Prosperity Planner actively referred the member to the Central Coast College and meetings have been taking place. Because she can now save more money with less travel to work, the member has moved up a benchmark in housing and budgeting. This member is also eligible for the Family Self Sufficiency Program at the Housing Authority which will increase her savings over the next 5 years in an escrow account.