Our Services

safe savings

Financial coaching

Advocates - Relationship-Based Support


Through our model, CEF Members are paired with volunteer Advocates to receive consistent support and encouragement as they set and achieve concrete goals around employment, housing, and financial savings. Members and Advocates work together to achieve these goals using CEF’s own targeted financial tools and experience navigating many other community resources.

Members receive the support of Advocates as they work towards:

  • Reaching individual goals
  • Obtaining or increasing income
  • Moving into independent housing
  • Saving for significant assets
  • Connecting to community
  • Securing financial stability

Overwhelmingly, Members cite the relationships formed with Advocates as even more critical to their success than savings and financial services. This person-centered approach builds trust before building assets and is the key ingredient to CEF’s work. CEF creates a community of support that empowers Members, offers experiential learning opportunities for Advocates to grow and learn, and uses advocacy and collaboration to address the systemic causes of homelessness and poverty. CEF’s work is grounded in recognition of the detrimental impacts of systemic racism on Black and Brown members of our communities.

Safe Savings Accounts - Financial Freedom


CEF’s Safe Savings Accounts make saving easy. Through one-on-one support and a 15% match incentive, Members can save for their personal goals, such as move-in costs or an emergency fund. CEF has a variety of savings programs designed to help individuals at different stages of achieving financial independence:

  • Safe Savings Account: Members who achieve their savings goal and work 1-on-1 with Advocates receive a 15% match on top of their savings.
  • Laptop Savings: By saving $70 with CEF, Members can purchase affordable, refurbished laptop computers through our partner nonprofit, the Kramden Institute.
  • External Banking Partners: CEF also helps interested Members enroll in bank accounts with other financial institutions, recommending those with no- or low-cost savings options. 

Curious about the details? Check out CEF’s Safe Savings FAQ here!

Financial Coaching - The Skills to Succeed

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CEF’s customized, hands-on coaching programs cover 65 different topics–including everything from personal finance to job readiness to health. Working with Advocates, Members complete coaching topics that provide strategies and resources to support housing and financial security.

CEF: Community Empowerment Fund

Chapel Hill: 919-200-0233 Durham: 919-797-9233