Ending homelessness is a mission we can all support and the work that Back On My Feet does towards that mission is fantastic. We work with men and women in shelters to give them the confidence they need to turn their lives around but also the educational training. Simple things that we may take for granted like financial literacy is something our teammates struggle with.
Back On My Feet is a program in ten cities across the country that uses running to engage men and women in homeless shelters and recovery programs with support to turn their lives around. Through setting running goals, some times starting with just waking up for the workout, we can teach them how to set and meet goals in their lives. Sometimes it is even a more basic act like giving them a hug each day and saying we care about their success. I have been a runner (non-resident volunteer) with a shelter down the street from my house in Washington, DC, since August 2011. For nearly a year I was the 'coach' of the team, helping to create individual running programs to help them reach their goals. I have seen men relapse and I have seen them cry tears of joy after finishing a race. Nothing is more rewarding than seeing a self-admitted alcoholic or drug addict going through recovery, finishing their first race and setting their sites on a job and their own apartment. I love my team and am devastated that those making the decisions for us nationally don't understand the harm of their corporate partnerships.
Since 2011 we have been partners with a payday lender, Ace Cash Express, and even put them on our Board of Directors. This runs absolutely contrary to our mission to "help those experiencing homelessness change the way they see themselves so they can make real change that results in employment and independent living." Payday lenders like Ace Cash Express ruin communities and put individuals into never ending cycles of debt and credit damage, one of the root causes of homelessness.
Ace Cash Express has a C+ rating with the Better Business Bureau;
The BBB advises consumers against using payday lenders such as Ace Cash Express noting;
"...there is no limit on the interest rates that payday lenders can charge. Interest rates are usually far above what banks charge, and can be as high as 900 percent on an annual basis. For example, a $100 payday loan may cost $20 for two weeks. If the borrower can't pay it back on time, the loan can be extended by paying more fees. Borrowers can end up owing more in fees than the value of the original loan." (source: http://www.bbb.org/dallas/business-reviews/payday-loans/industry-tips/payday-loans)
Consumer Reports advocates against payday lenders noting the tremendous damage they do to their victims;
Payday lenders: Small loans, hefty fees, big problem
Gotcha! Beware of ‘fast cash’: Payday loans can be pricey and unforgiving
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a resource page for information on payday lending and the numerous legal cases they have brought against companies in the industry;
Back On My Feet needs to end their partnership with corporations that harm our communities like Ace Cash Express and remove them from our Board of Directors.