A lot of factors can impact your physical health, but an often underrated one is the impact of emotional stress. Few things can cause stress quite like financial concerns. So physical health and financial health are often closely linked.
Working to aid individuals dealing with such stresses is the goal of a new Financial Opportunity Center at Mercy Health’s Franklin Avenue Medical Center. The Financial Center officially opened to the public on September 1.
“This is a place where individuals can come and access free financial coaching, free employment coaching, get connected to job training as well as housing initiatives— whether it be you’re renting your first apartment, you’re trying to maintain your current housing as a renter, or you’re even looking to move into home ownership,” said Valerie Moffitt, Director of Financial Opportunities for the Toledo Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC).
The Center is the result of a partnership between Mercy Health, LISC and NeighborWorks Toledo. “The unique part about this center is because it is located in a medical center, you have access to so much more,” Moffitt said.
“You have access to your own individual health needs. Mercy is committed to providing affordable health care in the community where people live, and that’s exactly what the Franklin Avenue Medical Center does.”
The ball started rolling on the Financial Center’s unique location when Mercy Health began working on an initiative through the Hospital Council of Northwest Ohio called the Getting Healthy Zone. Mercy spent time talking to individuals in the community, going door-to-door at times, trying to get a sense of what their patients’ true needs were.
“We found out that people are obviously interested in improving their health, but we also found out that they are interested in making a living wage, they’re interested in home ownership. And those two areas … really made us take a look at a financial opportunity center,” said Cindy Pasano, Supervisor of the Healthy Connections Program at Mercy Health.
A few years ago, Pasano met Moffitt and learned that LISC was working in a partnership with NeighborWorks on a new Financial Center. Pasano jumped at the chance to work with both organizations.
“They have proven outcomes, proven results,” Pasano said. “Not just, hey, these are good ideas and we’ve talked to people. But they’ve got actual outcomes where they can tell how they’ve moved people into economic stability. And that’s pretty impressive to me.”
NeighborWorks has provided financial guidance to Toledoans for decades now, but offering services at the Franklin Avenue Medical Center opens entirely new doors for those in need.
“When you discuss your finances, it’s obviously a very personal discussion, especially if you are concerned about your finances— to come out and say, hey, I’m in debt, or hey, I live paycheck to paycheck. That’s a difficult thing to say to someone, especially someone you don’t know,” said Mandy Jacomet, the CFO of NeighborWorks Toledo Region.
“So I think that, honestly, with Mercy, these clients have a relationship with their doctors, and their nurses and their staff. And they feel comfortable there. And I think providing that opportunity to discuss their finances in a comfortable environment that they’re already used to will make it a lot easier.”
Mercy Health Franklin Ave.
2213 Franklin Ave. | 419-251-2425