CGAs helping families at Inn from the Cold prepare for their financial future

CALGARY, Nov. 14, 2011 /CNW/ - To celebrate financial literacy month in Canada, the Certified General Accountants' Association of Alberta (CGA Alberta) launched its financial literacy campaign to equip families at Inn from the Cold (IFTC) with important financial management skills. The two organizations partnered together on the shared goal to strengthen important life skills of IFTC guests to enhance their success and sustainability in the community.

In 2010 IFTC assisted 117 families in finding appropriate housing that they could sustain, and just this year alone the organization has saved the housing of 234 families at imminent risk of homelessness. "What IFTC has recognized is that a family's inability to manage the resources they have within a budget is always a catalyst to homelessness," said John Carpenter MBA FCGA, Chief Executive Officer of CGA Alberta.

"As guests of the Inn enter into the workforce, find suitable housing, and start planning for their future and the future of their children, it is more important than ever that they leave here with the skills needed to manage their own finances," Carpenter continued.  "With independence comes financial responsibility, and their success will depend on their financial management skills. Helping families plan for expenses and setting a budget that their income can sustain is a crucial step to their success in their community."

Jeff O'Rourke, CGA, a member of the Association's Task Force on Financial Literacy, discussed the importance of setting goals and the basics of budgeting in his presentation to the families at the Inn.

Yvette Rasmussen, Executive Director of Inn from the Cold, said this CGA-sponsored program is a very significant and innovative response to the needs of vulnerable families who face significant financial risks and challenges. "The practical content of the program and the quality of professional instruction will not only equip homeless families with stronger financial skills, but will also provide hope for a brighter future," she said.

"Budgeting for families is complicated as there are multiple members who may require financial support," Rasmussen continued. "Often the decisions families have to make to provide food will require compromise in other essential areas. Providing systems, navigation of support and budgeting classes is essential in keeping our families in the community, their children in school and family members employed."

Last year, more than 3,000 children and 2,000 adults participated in IFTC programs. The most sought after programming is parenting, budgeting and life skill enhancement.

"One of the most rewarding parts of this program is to see the families start to plan for their goals, and realize that with some hard work, those goals can be achieved," said O'Rourke. "My Money $ My Future helps individuals define their short and long term goals, understand the costs associated with those goals, and then equips them with the tools to plan financially so they can reach those goals."

Carpenter explains that CGAs provide professional services to clients to ensure they have the tools to take the best course of action for success and growth. "Our responsibility does not stop with our clients, but rather extends to all of society throughout," he said.

The My Money $ My Future campaign was originally launched in Alberta high schools and is now being offered to organizations whose members will benefit from learning smart money management skills.

The Certified General Accountants' Association is responsible for the education, regulation and promotion of CGAs in Alberta. There are more than 75,000 CGA members and students working across the country and around the world, at every level and in every sector. CGA is the fastest growing accounting designation in Canada and is the designation of choice for students pursuing an accounting career in Alberta. For more information about CGA Alberta, please visit the web-site at

SOURCE Certified General Accountants Association of Alberta

For further information:

Please contact Janice Harrington, Vice President, Communications and Government Relations, at (403) 614-7941 for further information and to arrange interview opportunities.

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