By Priscilla Rodriguez & Alexandra Fradelizio | m/Oppenheim.Org Writers
For years, the road to economic mobility has been a long and complicated one for many single mothers and low-income families. The idea of obtaining a college education to land a career seems impossible for a single mother who has to work multiple jobs. And the idea of buying a house seems like a distant dream.
But those important benchmarks — a new home, a better job, a steady income — become more realistic with the support of an organization like the Los Angeles-based New Economics for Women (NEW).
The organization was established more than 35 years ago by a group of women who believed that everyone deserves to experience economic mobility and be able to provide for their families in a dignified way. Over the years, the organization has expanded its programs and services to support the overall mission of empowering vulnerable women and families to take charge of their finances and futures.
“We work with women and families to remove the barriers that stand in the way of them leading healthier, better lives,” says Associate Executive Director Leticia Andueza.
Andueza has been with the organization throughout its development for the last 15 years, leading and working toward its mission to teach, coach, and uplift marginalized communities.
Whichever service a family needs, whether its assistance with homeownership, financial education and coaching, or eliminating debt, they’re on their way to “shift their mindset and lead a better future,” says Andueza.
More than 15,000 individuals are reached through the organization’s programs and services every year, and more than 40 percent of them experience an increase in their income. Children and youth are also significant constituents of the organization, as NEW helps them to develop a strong educational and learning foundation early in their lives.
Though Latina women make up a large percentage of those who are being served through the organization due to their high vulnerability in the Los Angeles region, its participants are very diverse and include African American and Asian American communities.
By connecting people with resources to improve their economic standing, the overall community of Los Angeles benefits too. With fewer homeless and more financially stable families, Angelenos can reinvest themselves into schools, organizations, local businesses, and the environment.
And the win of one family creates a trickle effect for the rest of the community.
“We love to celebrate those moments, those small benchmarks…reduced debt, increased savings, a family who was homeless and we connected them to affordable housing and now they’re now able to buy a home,” says Andueza.
“We celebrate for the family but also because it fills others with hope too, to know that it IS possible.”