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Cooperative Home Care Associates Wins NYC Business Innovation Challenge

July 18, 2013

On July 11, the New York City Economic Development Corporation announced that PHI affiliate Cooperative Home Care Associates (CHCA) was a winner of the NYC Business Innovation Challenge.

The competition called for innovative workplace programs that benefit low- and middle-income workers, while also improving a business’s bottom line. CHCA will receive a $25,000 planning award, along with advisory services from Next Street, to pilot a “workplace-based financial empowerment plan” in partnership with the nonprofit Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners.

CHCA, a Bronx-based, worker-owned, licensed home care agency, currently employs more than 2,300 workers. The cooperative has a strong tradition of workforce investment, including helping staff to avoid predatory financial services. The company offers opportunities for employees to build assets through worker-ownership, tax preparation assistance, and enrollment in the company’s 401(k).

Through work with Neighborhood Trust and its Employer Solution, CHCA will expand the financial supports available to its staff, linking them with counseling from Neighborhood Trust Financial Advisors and integrating financial services within CHCA operations — such as split direct deposit to allocate set portions of workers’ earnings into checking and savings accounts — to improve economic security for employees.

“Investing in our workforce is core to CHCA’s mission, and being selected as a finalist in the NYC Business Innovation Challenge presents a powerful opportunity for us to strengthen that investment,” said CHCA President Michael Elsas. “We are excited about this opportunity to collaborate with Neighborhood Trust to strengthen economic security for our staff and the community they serve.”

More than 80 plans were submitted to the NYC Business Innovation Challenge, with 14 selected as finalists and awarded planning funds. In November, competition judges will review the results of the pilot programs and select three Grand Prize winners to each receive $100,000.

A National Public Radio story that aired on July 15, “When Employees Need More Than an Advance on Their Paycheck,” spotlights how companies — including CHCA — have sought financial counseling services to assist their employees in making good financial decisions.

— by Angelina Del Rio Drake, PHI Development Specialist

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