Press Release: Mayor Michelle Wu, Former Mayor and EMPath CEO Kim Janey and Boston Housing Authority, Spotlight Innovative Program to Support BHA Residents in Climbing Economic Ladder
Dec 16, 2022
AMP Up Boston, led by Economic Mobility Pathways (EMPath), with support from BHA, empowers low-income families as they pursue work, education and homeownership opportunities and a pathway out of poverty
Boston, MA – Today, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu joined Economic Mobility Pathways (EMPath), a Boston-based nonprofit led by former Boston Mayor Kim Janey, and the Boston Housing Authority (BHA), to spotlight a new innovative three-year program and study – AMP Up Boston – that provides one-on-one mentoring support to BHA residents as they work towards economic independence. AMP Up Boston is a program of EMPath – a nonprofit that dramatically improves the lives of people living in poverty – with support from BHA and is offered as part of a study led by a Harvard researcher.
AMP Up Boston, which has been underway for a year, empowers low-income Boston families as they pursue work, education and homeownership opportunities and a pathway out of poverty. The program aligns with Mayor Wu’s agenda supporting housing opportunities, including increasing homeownership for Black and brown families; boosting economic mobility among Boston residents; and advancing racial equity.
“Boston residents from every background deserve a chance to pursue their dreams. The AMP Up Boston program is a vital bridge that will help our most vulnerable residents achieve career goals, and homeownership and financial opportunities,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “Not only will this program empower Boston residents, it will teach us the most effective methods so that we can help others for years to come.”
Current AMP Up Boston participants work one-on-one with an EMPath mentor to set a range of goals focused on education, career advancement, homeownership and finances, among other areas. Mentors support families throughout the program using EMPath’s economic mobility coaching model, Mobility Mentoring®.
To date, nearly 50 percent of current program participants have achieved at least one of their goals. Some program participants have reached milestones such as securing a good-paying job or completing an educational or training activity. Others are pursuing homeownership. AMP Up Boston is ramping up recruitment efforts in order to bring more families into the program and study.
“We’re incredibly encouraged by the progress that our program participants are making in setting and achieving goals for themselves – whether it’s securing a good-paying job, earning a college degree, or owning a home,” said Kim Janey, former Mayor of Boston and now President & CEO of EMPath. “Our coaching model, Mobility Mentoring, has seen tremendous success in supporting low-income families as they work towards economic independence. We hope it will continue to make the same kind of life-changing impact for BHA residents, especially as we work to bring even more families into the program.”
“Without the support of AMP Up Boston and my EMPath mentor, I would have not been able to make the strides I’ve made in improving my financial health and overall well-being,” said Zandria White, participant in the AMP Up Boston program and resident of Dorchester. “When joining the program, my mentor made a dedicated effort to earn my trust over time and as a result, our partnership has given me the confidence and support I needed to make progress towards my biggest goals. As I’ve worked towards being debt-free and secured a good-paying job in a field that I enjoy, I’m thrilled to be on my way to eventually owning a home.”
EMPath’s Mobility Mentoring approach is a research-backed coaching model that focuses on partnering with low-income families as they set and work towards goals in areas like health, family life, career, finances, and education. AMP Up Boston participants meet monthly with their mentors and can earn up to $700 per year for making progress on their goals—like getting a good-paying job or a degree. To date, more than 250 participants are enrolled in the study.
“Our residents have always had wisdom, talent and experience to offer, and now, the AMP Up program is helping them pursue the kinds of jobs, education, and homeownership opportunities they can achieve,” BHA Administrator Kate Bennett said. “This program has the exciting potential to change lives and realize dreams.”
The AMP Up Boston program is being evaluated by professor Lawrence Katz at Harvard University, with additional support from the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), based at MIT, and Opportunity Insights, based at Harvard. Eligible participants must join the study to receive the AMP Up Boston mentoring program.
For more information about AMP Up Boston and eligibility, families can visit ampupboston.org.
Economic Mobility Pathways (EMPath) is a nearly 200-year-old organization that dramatically improves the lives of people living in poverty. Because creating economic opportunity is multifaceted, EMPath’s approach is too. EMPath offers a unique combination of direct services; a learning network of human services organizations; and research and advocacy for what works. This “virtuous circle” allows each part of the organization’s work to inform what it knows, does, and shares with others to seed systemic change. To learn more, visit empathways.org.
About the Boston Housing Authority Boston Housing Authority provides quality affordable housing for low-income families and individuals through the public housing and Section 8 rental assistance programs. We foster vital communities that are essential to our city’s economic diversity and way of life. As the largest housing provider in Boston, we bring stability, opportunity, and peace of mind not only to the thousands of low-income families we support, but to the city as a whole. To learn more, visit bostonhousing.org.