Sponsor a Saver

Sponsor a Saver – Build a Rainy-Day Fund

And help make fewer days rainy

CEF is starting a new savings program to help families sustain transitions out of homelessness.

Members save towards an emergency fund, helping families stay in their homes, for the long-term.

Member saves                      $2,000

CEF matches 50%             + $1,000

Emergency Fund                  $3,000

Sign up to sponsor one of our first pilot 10 Savers.

100% of your donation goes directly to Savers transitioning out of homelessness.

Make recurring monthly contributions (while the Savers are making monthly savings deposits – build together!)

$25 / month for 2 years

$45 / month for 1 year

Make a one-time contribution with your friends or family!

$250/ea. – You and three friends can fully match savings

$500/ea. – You and one friend can fully match savings

$1,000 – Your family sponsors a family

give to cef

Mail checks to: 133 1/2 E. Franklin Street, Suite 105, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
Please make checks payable to the Community Empowerment Fund.

Dawn Sheppard

Dawn moved out of the women’s shelter in April of 2011. After graduating from our financial education classes, Dawn was able to budget income from her part-time job as a nursing assistant to pay for her rent, utilities, vehicle expenses, and everything in between. Dawn is incredibly savvy at managing her money, in her own words “[i]t’s always beneficial to have something saved up. Spending every penny, you can never get ahead. By saving my refund with CEF last year, when I really needed money and was in a crunch throughout the year, I had something I could fall back on.”

After leaving the shelter, Dawn moved into her own apartment in Hillsborough. Despite all her bills, Dawn consistently saves $20 per month in her CEF savings account. She uses our direct deposit option to deposit $10 out of every bi-monthly paycheck towards her savings dream. Dawn is steadily building towards her goal of having a rainy-day fund of $2,000, and this new savings product will incentivize and reward her success.

Dawn has been in an out of homelessness ever since she left her foster home as a young adult. She is committed to ensuring that this is her last transition out of homelessness, and we know she can do it! Dawn eventually wants to own her own home, and is using her experience saving with CEF to prepare herself and build lifelong assets.

Robert Barnes

Robert will be moving out of the men’s shelter this month. While living in the shelter, he has been saving with CEF towards a security deposit for his new apartment and deposits for utilities. He is on a fixed income, and has taken the knowledge he gained from our financial education classes to find an affordable apartment that will allow him to continue to save for his future goals.

After he moves, Robert will be continuing to come to our weekly classes to stay connected to the support, resources, and community of the group. Robert has been homeless once before in his life, and when he talks about this move he says excitedly that he “is going to do it right this time. Make plans, keep saving, stay connected.” He is committed to saving monthly towards an emergency fund to make sure that the life’s future obstacles don’t bring him back to the shelter.

Moreover, Robert is excited about the opportunities available through this new program to improve his credit score. He dreams of owning his own business and his own home, and knows this is the stepping-stone to those goals.

Multiple sources indicate that approximately 50 percent of individuals who transition out of homelessness return to homelessness again. In the year and a half since we started our savings program, we have seen the role that savings can play in enabling sustained transitions out of homelessness. Taking care of medical emergencies, buying birthday presents for nieces and nephews, smoothing fluctuations in income, launching a micro-enterprise, visiting a new-born grand-baby, going back to school, repairing a vehicle… all these moments when “life happens” were made easier for our members by the ready availability of reserve funds they had personally saved.

Likewise, we have seen times when the opportunity to obtain greater assets could have been a total game-changer for an individual. Larger assets are often key to taking that “next step” in a members’ long-term journey towards their goals.

While in shelters or otherwise subsidized housing programs, CEF members are able to save as much as 90% of their monthly income. However, after making the transition into independent housing, more bills and needs inevitably arise and saving often must be re-prioritized. Members make deposits and maintain their savings to varying degrees, but with less consistency and less success. Each individual is no less committed to his or her goals; they just need a higher launch point.

In response to this need, we are partnering with you to help Savers develop an emergency fund for when “life happens.”  CEF Emergency Fund Accounts will be used to maintain a buffer against emergencies such as rent, utilities, and medical expenses by preserving funds for a rainy day.