PRESS RELEASE: Coaching and Rental Support Dramatically Improve Family Outcomes, Study Finds

COLUMBUS – A study of the new Move to PROSPER program finds that comprehensive family coaching paired with temporary partial rental support dramatically improves family outcomes for both children and their parents. In just four months, 70 percent of enrolled families saw improvements in child behavior; 60 percent reported youth having a higher self-image; and 50 percent began earning higher grades. Participants also experienced greater financial stability, reductions in health complications, and lessening of maternal stress.

“This report is confirmation of everything existing research suggested would happen” said Rachel Kleit, Chair of the Move to PROSPER Steering Committee and an associate dean at The Ohio State University. “The only obstacle we’ve faced is managing the overwhelming demand.”

In fact, the program began in the summer of 2018 as a pilot for 10 families, but 300 mothers volunteered to enroll. It is now in the process of planning to scale up and expects to grow to 100 families with a demonstration project. 

Move to PROSPER is a collaboration between Ohio State and community partners to examine how safer, more prosperous, and better performing neighborhoods can change the trajectory of a person’s life. Built on a public-private partnership model, property owners in the pilot found that having a supported tenant base similarly improved their business, with all landlords reporting either a positive or neutral experience in the program. The key is the coaching model that works with the families and property owners.

“The big story is that people can make a difference in their own lives with the right supports in place. The combination of life coaching, creating relationships for support, the right environment and healthy, stable supportive housing with rental support can be absolutely transformational in a person's life,” said Jason Reece, PhD,  author of the “Prosperity Report” and a professor with Ohio’s State’s City and Regional Planning in the Knowlton School of Architecture. His comments highlight the fact that many participants relocated from unsafe conditions and impoverished neighborhoods and not ones the focus of revitalization to participate in the study, reaping almost immediate benefits. 

The PNC Foundation provided a $6,500 grant to Move to PROSPER to support ongoing life coaching to families, including financial literacy education, employment, health and wellness. The PNC Foundation receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.

“Access to tools and education that support smart financial decision-making for families is a key building block for success,” said Theresa Saelim, PNC Bank Community Development consultant. “PNC is a trusted member of the Columbus community, as well as the communities that Move to PROSPER families call home. Helping to provide those resources is simply the right thing to do because when our communities succeed, everyone thrives.” 

Move to PROSPER is unique in that it is partnering with owners of residential rental property to open doors to opportunity. John Wymer, President and CEO of Oakwood Management Company said “there has been only positive impact on our properties and company, and we are very pleased with how successful the pilot has been. We are doing this as simply, it is the right thing to do.”

Lizzie Rosen