La Casa opens expanded financial stability, trade work center

By Ashley Haynes - Freeman Staff

March 20, 2018

WAUKESHA — La Casa de Esperanza revealed Monday morning the result of an expansion of the school’s Financial Stability Initiative. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at the new location of La Casa de Esperanza’s Center for Financial Stability and the Bryce P. Styza Construction Trades Workforce Program for Latinos, 134 Wisconsin Ave. Both ventures, dedicated to promoting financial well-being and careers in the trades respectively, are now housed within a building donated by First Federal Bank of Wisconsin, which had mainly been using the 4,000-square-foot space as an administrative office for the past several years.

Anselmo Villarreal, president and CEO of La Casa, assured the community that the organization will maximize the potential of the new building in support of low-income families.

“It’s important that our families understand the importance of credit and how powerful it can be, but also how dangerous it can be when not used properly,” said Villarreal. “As you know, the main goal of La Casa de Esperanza is to provide self-sufficiency.”

County Executive Paul Farrow added that La Casa truly knows what it means to give back and how to be a part of the community. With 400,000 people that call Waukesha County home and an unemployment rate below 3 percent, Farrow says there are jobs here for those who want them.

“We need people to fill the jobs. If you want a job, we’re gonna help you get one. With a program like this, we can partner to make sure that really happens,” said Farrow.

In addition to the Bryce P. Styza Construction Trades Workforce Program for Latinos, the Center for Financial Stability is also home to the Volunteer Income and Tax Assistance Program, Employer-Based Financial Wellness Program, We Energies Low Income Pilot Program and Employment Assistance program.

The Center for Financial Stability’s mission is to transform the lives and futures of low-income individuals and families, with an emphasis on the Hispanic population, by helping them achieve and sustain financial stability and self-sufficiency through coaching, education and asset-building activities.

It is a collaboration between local for-profit and nonprofit organizations, such as the United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County. Topics like asset-building money management and funding a safety net all fold into a financial literacy curriculum provided to families.

“We were honored to accept this gift from First Federal Bank,” said Villarreal. “This is a tremendous opportunity to be able to expand financial literacy in Waukesha. This new location will help us grow our free tax assistance program substantially this next year.”