Today, National Disability Institute (NDI), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the City of Houston, Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities assembled policymakers, stakeholders and leaders, from both the disability community and financial services sectors, at the Metropolitan Multi-Services Center in Houston, Texas for a Financial Inclusion Summit. The Summit addressed the financial knowledge, skill gaps and barriers that prevent Americans with disabilities from participating in the economic mainstream and focused on creating solutions to assure their access to financial mainstream services.
“Twenty-eight years after the signing into law of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), there remain persistent barriers to economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities, a third of whom live below the poverty line,” Michael Morris, Executive Director, National Disability Institute, said. “Equal opportunity must include options to build the knowledge and skills necessary to make informed financial decisions, access to financial education and coaching, affordable and accessible financial services and products, inclusion in career pathways and the ability to save and build assets.” He added, “The Houston Financial Inclusion Summit is about the power of collaboration. Together, we can build opportunity for shared prosperity and the full participation of Americans with disabilities in the economic mainstream.”
As the nation’s first nonprofit dedicated exclusively to improving the financial health and well-being of people across the spectrum of disability, NDI has long documented the unique financial challenges and hurdles individuals with disabilities face. In December 2017, NDI released the report, Financial Capability of Adults with Disabilities: Findings from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation National Financial Capability Study.
Findings from the report include:
- Among adults ages 18-64, one in nine have a disability and, of those, one in three are employed.
- People with disabilities are twice as likely to have income less than $35,000, leading to a high rate of skipped medical treatments compared to those without disabilities (46 percent vs. 25 percent).
- People with disabilities are three times more likely to have extreme difficulty paying bills.
- Fifty-five percent of people with disabilities reported that they could not come up with $2,000 for an emergency, compared to 22 percent of those without a disability.
- Compared to people without disabilities, those with disabilities are more likely to be late on mortgage payments (31 percent vs. 14 percent), overdrawn on checking accounts (31 percent vs. 18 percent) and take loans from retirement accounts (23 percent vs. 10 percent).
Collaborating organizations for the event included Allegiance Bank; BakerRipley Community Developers; Bank of America; Bank On Houston; City of Houston, Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities; Easterseals Greater Houston; Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC); First Convenience Bank; Green Bank; Stakeholder Partnerships, Education and Communication (SPEC), Internal Revenue Service (IRS); JP Morgan Chase & Co.; LEAD Center; National Disability Institute; Operation Hope; The Arc, Greater Houston; The Coalition for Barrier Free Living, Inc.; Texas Able; and Texas Capital Bank.
The overflow crowd at the Summit heard from a diverse set of speakers representing both public and private interests and the nonprofit sector. The Summit keynote speaker was Linda Fernandez, Director, Educational Opportunities and Investment Division, Texas Comptroller’s Office. Special guests included: Maria Town, Director, Houston Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities; Elise Hough, CEO, Easterseals Houston; Michelle Howard-Herbein, Executive Director, The Arc of Houston; Chamane Barrow, Executive Director, Houston Center for Independent Living; Ayjana Lewis, WIPA Project Director/Sr. Community Work Incentives Coordinator (CWIC), Houston Center for Independent Living; Al Coleman, Community Affairs Specialist, FDIC; John Seydler, Office of Houston City Controller, Bank On Initiative; Cristina Cave, Community Relations Senior Manager, Neighborhood Tax Centers, BakerRipley; and Becca Fritze, Manager, Financial Coaching, THRIVE United Way of Greater Houston. Each speaker highlighted their own and/or organization’s work to help Americans with disabilities build a more financially secure future.
During the afternoon session, Summit attendees formed working groups to identify pathways to create better financial health and well-being for all individuals with disabilities. The goal was to develop and refine strategies to fulfill the promise of the Americans with Disabilities Act “to assure equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living and economic self-sufficiency for individuals with disabilities.” Following the breakout session, the working groups gave their reports and recommendations to advance financial inclusion for Americans with disabilities.
Portions of this event were made possible through the generous support of JPMorgan Chase and Allegiance Bank.
About National Disability Institute
National Disability Institute (NDI) is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to building a better economic future for people with disabilities. The first national organization committed exclusively to championing economic empowerment, financial education, asset development and financial stability for all persons with disabilities, NDI affects change through public education, policy development, training, technical assistance and innovative initiatives. NDI and its Real Economic Impact (REI) Network have helped more than 2.3 million people with disabilities receive nearly $2.3 billion in tax refunds and credits. To learn more, visit www.realeconomicimpact.org. Engage with NDI on Facebook: RealEconImpact or follow NDI on Twitter: @RealEconImpact.
About the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) preserves and promotes public confidence in the U.S. financial system by insuring deposits in banks and thrift institutions for up to $250,000 per depositor, per insured bank, for each ownership category by identifying, monitoring and addressing risks to the deposit insurance funds; and by limiting the effect on the economy and the financial system when a bank or thrift institution fails. The FDIC is a recognized leader in promoting sound public policies, addressing risks in the nation’s financial system and carrying out its insurance, supervisory, consumer protection, resolution planning and receivership management responsibilities.
About the City of Houston, Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities
The mission of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) is to serve as the primary advocate for the rights and needs of citizens with disabilities. The Office also serves as a liaison between the mayor, city council, city departments and other public and private entities on matters pertaining to people with disabilities in Houston. MOPD’s vision is a city where everyone understands the importance of equal participation and full inclusion of all citizens, including citizens with disabilities.