(CBS DETROIT) – National nonprofit organization the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund), in partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies, Citi Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and the Wells Fargo Foundation, announced today that more than 50 city and county partner governments across the country are set to offer financial counseling and financial navigation services for their local residents in need. As part of this effort, the CFE Fund announced the selection of 31 city and county governments to launch a new Financial Navigator initiative, which will provide their residents one-on-one remote sessions to help navigate the financial impact of COVID-19 through access to local, state, and federal resources. In addition, the CFE Fund announced an expansion of its Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) initiative, which offers professional, data-driven one-on-one financial counseling as a public service, funding additional counselors in FEC partner cities, as well as pivoting its national FEC infrastructure to accommodate remote services. These new and enhanced financial navigation and counseling services come in the face of increasing individual and family, with some FEC cities already experiencing as much as a 40% increase in demand for financial counseling services.

“Thanks to the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund and our other partners, the Detroit Financial Empowerment Center has been able to assist hundreds of residents through financial hardship caused by COVID19, while helping them continue to plan for their long-term financial goals,” said City of Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “This continued support from the CFE Fund will help us meet increasing demand and continue to provide high-quality financial counseling for Detroit residents that need these services.”

FINANCIAL EMPOWERMENT CENTERS
As part of its FEC Public platform, the CFE Fund also announced an expansion of FEC services, as well as a pivot to remote services across all 20 operational FECs; these FEC partners are Akron, OHAurora, ILDenver, CODetroit, MIGreenville County, SCHouston, TXLansing, MIMemphis, TNNashville, TNNew Haven, CTNew York, NYPhiladelphia, PAPittsburgh, PAPolk County, IARoanoke, VARochester, NYSacramento, CASan Antonio, TXShreveport, LA; and Syracuse, NY. FECs provide professional, one-on-one financial counseling as a free public service. In partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies, Citi Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and the Wells Fargo Foundation, the CFE Fund supported additional FEC counselors to meet this increased demand. In addition, this funding supported a number of enhancements to the national FEC Public infrastructure so that services could be offered remotely, such as developing electronic consent forms and creating new COVID-related indicators to help partners better track counselor efforts and report on FEC impact. The CFE Fund also released a new brief, Meeting the Emergency Moment: Key Takeaways from Delivering Remote Municipal Financial Counseling Services, outlining best practices and lessons learned as FEC partners shifted to remote financial counseling.

First piloted in New York City under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in 2008, existing FECs across the country have served over 108,000 clients, helping them reduce individual debt by over $150 million, and increasing their families’ savings by more than $23 million.

SOURCE:  Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund


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