New Member Profile: Horizons, a Family Service Alliance

Tell us about your organization’s mission and/or focus area

For 60 years Horizons, A Family Service Alliance, based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has been dedicated to providing opportunities to improve the lives of individuals and families. Horizons provides a variety of human services across Eastern Iowa including: Meals on Wheels Programs, Financial Wellness Center, Transportation and Elderly Services. 

Our Mission: Instill hope, change lives and brighten futures by providing life-changing services to under-served populations.

Our Vision: Creating a promising future for the individuals and families we serve by providing help and hope through the work we do.

Our Values: Integrity, compassion and inclusivity.

Describe a current challenge in your community and how your organization is addressing this

Many in our community struggle with financial and housing stability. A majority are underserved populations. Lack of reliable transportation limits employment options. There is a lack of safe and affordable housing available to lower wage earners. Housing is further impacted by those with imperfect credit reports or past criminal history. Horizons provide a shared ride service when mass transit is not in operation to expand employment opportunities. We link clients to resources to assist with basic needs. We help clients to develop sustainable budgets to reach their financial goals. We assist some clients to become first-time homeowners through education and one-on-one counseling. We also provide foreclosure prevention through education and one-on-one counseling.

How have you collaborated, or would you like to collaborate with other organizations to successfully achieve a goal?

Our Wellness Center collaborates with several other human service organizations to provide financial literacy and one-on-one counseling. We provide education and counseling to two home incubator projects to help families become first-time homebuyers. During COVID-19, we became a part of a collaboration between area landlords and other human service agencies to work toward eviction prevention. For the past four years, we have provided financial literacy programs to a women’s substance abuse residential program. We are currently working with two families that have graduated from this program to become first-time homeowners.

Please share a success story or memorable moment from your work

One family facing foreclosure and quickly running out of time to save the family home contacted Horizons for assistance. They had been working with an attorney for several months and when they could no longer afford to pay the attorney they contacted Horizons, a HUD approved housing agency, for assistance. Within a short amount of time of contacting Horizons, they were approved for trial payments and successfully completed a favorable modification, which saved the family home. And they were very surprised to learn this service had been available to them at no charge.

What prompted you to join NCRC?

We were prompted to join NCRC because of the meaningful education they provide, the activism they do to achieve a just economy, and the ability to collaborate further with agencies of similar goals and missions.

Denise Fuller is the manager of financial counseling at Horizons, A Family Service Alliance.

Photo from Horizons, A Family Service Alliance.

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Redlining and Neighborhood Health

Before the pandemic devastated minority communities, banks and government officials starved them of capital.

Lower-income and minority neighborhoods that were intentionally cut off from lending and investment decades ago today suffer not only from reduced wealth and greater poverty, but from lower life expectancy and higher prevalence of chronic diseases that are risk factors for poor outcomes from COVID-19, a new study shows.

The new study, from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) with researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health and the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab, compared 1930’s maps of government-sanctioned lending discrimination zones with current census and public health data.

Table of Content

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Redlining, the HOLC Maps and Segregation
  • Segregation, Public Health and COVID-19
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion and Policy Recommendations
  • Citations
  • Appendix

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