City of Pittsburgh | Office of the Mayor | March 23, 2021 | Read the full press release
The Pittsburgh Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) has provided direct personal financial management support to 868 people since the City of Pittsburgh and Neighborhood Allies launched the program in March 2019, leading to nearly $1.3 million in total debt reduction and $1 million in increased savings.
The Pittsburgh FEC offers free professional one-on-one financial counseling for individuals and families looking to address their financial challenges and plan for their futures. Any area resident over the age of 18 can register to meet regularly with an accredited financial counselor — by phone or video during the pandemic — who will help them define and reach their own financial goals.
“Working with the FEC gave us a clearer picture of our finances and alleviated the stress of not being able to pay down our debt. We now have the confidence to be accountable to handle our debt with their tools and expertise,” one FEC client said. “Our FEC office has an amazing supportive staff that continues to point us in the right direction.”
Henry Horn Pyatt, Economic Opportunity Manager for the City of Pittsburgh, said “We know that one of the most pernicious aspects of structural inequity is that it gets worse from generation to generation as folks don’t have wealth and experience managing it to pass on to the next generation, and so that generation starts off behind their peers, and the cycle continues. With an FEC counselor, clients can tap into expert level financial advice, and be connected with tools like income supports and business capital, that help make meaningful strides toward ending the “ratchet” effect of generational economic inequity.”
The latest figures from the FEC show:
- Total Debt Reduction (all clients): -$1,263,673
- Total Savings Increase (all clients): $1,001,041
- Average Debt Reduction per Client: 243 clients reduced debt by an average of $5,200
- Average savings increase per client: 256 clients increased saving by an average of almost $3,928
Other figures show:
- Clients are 47.5% Black, 35% White, 17.5% other or multiple races
- 85% of client households are below AMI
- 64% of client households have an income of less than $35k/yr
Pittsburgh FEC has been nationally recognized for its COVID-19 response in quickly migrating their services to phone and video and having counselors specially trained in federal and state COVID-19-specific assistance programs. In May, they received a grant from the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund to hire an additional counselor to assist in the COVID-19 emergency response to Pittsburgh residents’ financial hardships. Pittsburgh FEC was recently highlighted for its leadership in financial counseling assistance in the Bloomberg Cities SPARK newsletter.
Pittsburgh FEC is a free public service provided in partnership between the City of Pittsburgh Mayor’s Office of Equity, Neighborhood Allies, Advantage Credit Counseling Service, and Cities for Financial Empowerment. For more information or to register for counseling, visit their website or follow Pittsburgh FEC on Facebook.