Pittsburgh Launching Financial Empowerment Center Initiative
PITTSBURGH, PA (March 18, 2019) The City of Pittsburgh in partnership with Neighborhood Allies is announcing the creation of Pittsburgh’s Financial Empowerment Center (FEC). Pittsburgh’s FEC will provide free one-on-one financial counseling by appointment or walk in at locations around the city.
FECs help clients take control of their debt, deal with debt collectors, improve their credit, create a budget, save, connect to safe and affordable financial products, and much more.
The Cities for Financial Empowerment (CFE) Fund, a national nonprofit in New York City, is working to replicate the FEC model through its FEC Public platform. Through a competitive application process, the CFE Fund selected the City of Pittsburgh to plan for, and ultimately launch, a Financial Empowerment Center as a new public service. Advantage Credit Counseling has hired and trained a manager and four counselors, who have been deployed to eight locations.
This service in Pittsburgh is initially funded for two years at a cost of $666,000. The CFE Fund is generously providing almost half of this cost with the remainder coming from local philanthropies, financial institutions, and a $30,000 contribution from the City of Pittsburgh.
Legislation on the City’s contribution is being introduced to Pittsburgh City Council on Tuesday, March 19.
Free one on one financial counseling sessions will be available at eight partner locations so participants can find a place and time that works for them by calling Advantage Credit Counseling at (800) 298-0237.
For more information – including a list of locations – please see this handout.
The FEC Model
To date, the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund’s Financial Empowerment Centers have worked with more than 85,000 clients, helping them reduce their debt by more than $101 million and increase their savings by $10 million. Launched in 2008, FECs are operating now in 8 cities, with over a dozen local governments working to launch a local FEC initiative. Professionally trained FEC counselors help consumers with low incomes manage their finances, pay down debt, increase savings, establish and build credit, and access safe and affordable mainstream banking products. At the core of the FEC model is the integration of counseling into other social services, including housing and foreclosure prevention, workforce development, prisoner reentry, benefits access, domestic violence services, and more.
Neighborhood Allies is a unique community development partner that is part funder, part lender, part connector and part consultant. Believing that Pittsburgh’s future is built upon strong neighborhoods, they are a forward-thinking, solutions-oriented community developer that brings hope, fresh ideas, expertise, and resources to distressed and transitional neighborhoods. They accomplish this work by listening to the needs of neighborhoods and serving as a catalyst for change. Their approach to neighborhood revitalization is comprehensive and multifaceted, and they make and support neighborhood-based investments that seed ideas, help transform vulnerable neighborhoods and identify scalable ways to create positive social impact, using their Healthy Neighborhoods Framework as their roadmap. For more information visit: www.neighborhoodallies.org
Advantage Credit Counseling
Advantage Credit Counseling Service, Inc. (ACCS) is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that has been successfully assisting consumers attain financial wellness for over 50 years. Advantage helps individuals and families achieve financial wellness through its financial counseling services and financial literacy education. The agency helps consumers at various points in their financial life, whether they are struggling with debt, building their credit, preparing for homeownership or trying to save their home from foreclosure. The counseling services the agency provides gives consumers a resource that helps them to achieve their financial goals.