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2022 Grants Challenge

Co-Signing for Single Moms

The Libertas Institute is an independent think tank aimed at the research and development of ideas and solutions that optimize human wellness, progress, and potential. We have developed a proposal to launch an independent, self-funding, non-profit/social enterprise organization dedicated to the purpose of co-signing for single parents (unmarried, head-of-household caregivers), so as to provide equitable access and advantage to this economically disadvantaged group.

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What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Income Inequality

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

County of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Pilot or new project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

Nearly 25% of all children in the US are being raised in single-parent homes, around 80% of which are mothers. Of those, nearly 40% are living below the poverty line. Life is expensive. Life with kids is even more expensive. And providing for yourself and your kids with only one income is nearly impossible. Thus many hard-working and responsible single parents struggle to make ends meet, and a significant portion of America’s youth is being raised in poverty. And economic opportunity, or lack thereof, is understood to be the largest indicator of a child’s future success. Making matters worse— it’s expensive to be poor. People born into wealthy families understand the benefits in having parents who can co-sign. This economic privilege secures lower interest rates and more affordable housing. It provides savings and opportunities that help people build personal wealth and security for themselves over time.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

We plan to launch a self-funding non-profit/social enterprise organization dedicated to the purpose of co-signing for single parents (unmarried, head-of-household caregivers) so as to provide equitable access and advantage to this economically disadvantaged group. A co-signing organization for single parents has the potential to save them hundreds of dollars each month while also helping them to build the financial security necessary to maintain their financial integrity and independence in perpetuity. This will also increase the standard of living for a significant portion of our nation’s youth, promoting individual prosperity concurrent with societal benefit. We intend to focus on 3 categories: 1. Rent— A co-signer would strengthen rental applications for single parents, so that they can equitably compete for affordable quality housing. This helps them to obtain housing in areas with lower crime rates, less sex offenders, and higher quality schooling. 2. Home buying—Co-signing on home purchases would allow single parents to obtain housing in desirable areas while often paying less each month than they would pay to rent. This also increases their tax savings and quality of life, while also building personal security and individual wealth. 3. Car Purchase - Having a co-signer would allow applicants to qualify for better interest rates when purchasing a car and/or lower payments when leasing. This amounts to significant monthly savings.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

In Los Angeles county, there is a significant housing crisis and the cost of living is stretched to the max. Furthermore, the recent pandemic left many single parents out of work due to lack of childcare, which forced them to deplete their savings to just maintain housing. With access to a co-signing organization, single parents in Los Angeles will have equitable access to housing and personal security building. And increasing the economic outlook for single parents has countless benefits. This will: 1. Reduce the amount of household aid the state is currently providing to this demographic 2. Reduce the waitlist for section 8 housing 3. Lower crime. (a) increase the safety of children by allowing them to live safer areas. (b) kids with more economic opportunities do better in school and lower crime rates. 4. Reduce the homeless population. And reduce the pressure on shelters that provide emergency housing for kids who are displaced. increased

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

The success of this project will be easily quantifiable in the number of persons who receive the benefit of co-signing and the amount they are able to save each month. But also, in our objective to establish and secure the economic foundation of the organization itself, so as to optimize both short and long-term success. A few specifics to be used in our metrics include: How many parents were able to purchase or rent a home or car? How much did this benefit help them to save each month? and what percentage How many children have been positively impacted by this program? How many partnerships were we able to secure to synergize economic interests? How have the participant education and resources we offer, contributed to the minimization of rent/purchase default? Is the default rate among participants lower than among non-participants?

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 100

Indirect Impact: 5,000