EMPath: Cambridge Housing Authority Residents Now Eligible for Local Innovative Program and Study that Supports Families in Climbing Economic Ladder

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Joint partnership announcement released by EMPath on May 16, 2023:

AMP Up, led by Economic Mobility Pathways (EMPath), has supported local low-income families as they pursue work, education and homeownership opportunities and a pathway out of poverty

Cambridge, MA – Today, Economic Mobility Pathways (EMPath), a Boston-based nonprofit led by former Boston Mayor Kim Janey, and the Cambridge Housing Authority (CHA), announced a new partnership that will now offer CHA residents the chance to join EMPath’s innovative three-year program and study – AMP Up – that provides one-on-one mentoring support to residents as they work to climb the economic ladder.

AMP Up, which has been offered to Boston Housing Authority residents since the program and study launched and will continue to be, is a program of EMPath – a nonprofit that dramatically improves the lives of people living in poverty. AMP Up is supported by both the Boston and Cambridge Housing Authorities and is offered as part of a study led by a Harvard researcher. Underway for more than a year, AMP Up empowers low-income families as they pursue work, education and homeownership opportunities and a pathway out of poverty.

“EMPath’s newest partnership with CHA is an extraordinarily powerful tool to advance economic mobility,” said Cambridge Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui. “Their unique coaching model will empower eligible Cambridge residents with the tools to reshape their future. I am eager to see the outcome.”

In EMPath’s coaching model, Mobility Mentoring®, mentors work one-on-one with low-income families as they set and work towards goals in areas like education, career advancement, finances, family stability (including housing), and wellbeing. AMP Up participants meet monthly with their mentors and can earn up to $700 per year for making progress on their goals—like getting a good-paying job or completing a degree. To date, nearly 340 participants are enrolled in the study.

“EMPath is thrilled to embark upon this new partnership with the Cambridge Housing Authority and the opportunity to offer CHA residents the chance to join AMP Up,” said Kim Janey, President & CEO of EMPath. “Providing individualized support to families, like our coaching model does, is one of the best ways to ensure families can move beyond meeting their basic needs and truly thrive. We look forward to partnering with CHA residents as they work towards their biggest goals.”

To date, 60 percent of current program participants have achieved at least one of their goals. Some program participants have reached milestones such as securing a good-paying job or completing an educational or training activity. Others are pursuing homeownership.

“CHA is excited to partner with EMPath on bringing this exciting new program to our residents,” said CHA Executive Director, Michael J. Johnston. “We’ve seen the progress that BHA residents have made towards reaching their goals, and look forward to being able to offer the same mentoring support to CHA residents. This program has the potential to change lives and help families thrive.”

This past December, at an event hosted by EMPath and BHA at Alice Taylor Apartments in Roxbury, a BHA development site, Mayor Michelle Wu voiced her support for AMP Up, touting its alignment with her agenda to support housing opportunities, including increasing homeownership for Black and brown families; boost economic mobility among Boston residents; and advance racial equity.

AMP Up is being evaluated by professor Lawrence Katz at Harvard University, with additional support from the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), based at MIT, and Opportunity Insights, based at Harvard. Eligible participants must join the study to receive the AMP Up mentoring program.

For more information about AMP Up and eligibility, families can visit ampupboston.org.

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Economic Mobility Pathways (EMPath) is a nearly 200-year-old organization that dramatically improves the lives of people living in poverty. Because creating economic opportunity is multifaceted, EMPath’s approach is too. EMPath offers a unique combination of direct services; a learning network of human services organizations; and research and advocacy for what works. This “virtuous circle” allows each part of the organization’s work to inform what it knows, does, and shares with others to seed systemic change. To learn more, visit empathways.org.

About the Cambridge Housing Authority

Established under state law on December 9, 1935, Cambridge Housing Authority (CHA) provides long-term rental housing and rental assistance to more than 5,500+ low-income families, elders and disabled individuals through its Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Programs.

CHA invests in Cambridge families and provides enhanced support to almost 10% of the city population. By focusing on policy innovation and family economic opportunities, CHA meets its mission: to develop and manage safe, good quality, affordable housing for low-income individuals and families in a manner that promotes citizenship, community, and self-reliance in one of the most expensive housing markets in the country.

The Affordable Housing Accreditation Board (AHAB) has awarded national affordable housing accreditation to Cambridge Housing Authority in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Cambridge Housing Authority became the seventh affordable housing provider to receive AHAB accreditation. The designation of “Accredited Affordable Housing Organization” reflects an organization’s commitment to meeting high performance standards established by the affordable housing industry and to providing quality, well-managed housing.