Paterson and United Way of Passaic County Launch Financial Empowerment Center, Offering Financial Counseling as Free Public Service
Paterson has announced the opening of a local Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) to support residents with free, one-on-one financial counseling to local residents
June 14, 2021 – Paterson and United Way of Passaic County, in partnership with the national Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund) announced today the grand opening of Paterson’s Financial Empowerment Center (FEC), offering professional, one-on-one financial counseling and coaching as a free public service to local residents.
At the Paterson FEC, professionally trained FEC counselors help individuals and families with low and moderate 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, such as housing and foreclosure prevention, workforce development, prisoner reentry, benefits access, domestic violence services, and more.
Counseling appointments are available online or in person at the United Way Office in Center City Mall at 301 Main Street in Paterson. Interested residents can make an appointment at https://www.unitedwaypassaic.org/financial-empowerment-center.
“In Paterson, we believe in the power of local government to have a direct positive impact on residents’ lives,” said Mayor André Sayegh. “Meeting individuals where they are and empowering them financially – to reduce debt, save for college, own a home, start a business – will impact not only those individuals and families, but neighborhoods and communities. This is especially important now as our community works to recover from the COVID 19 pandemic, and we’re glad the city is able to step in and provide this service.”
Founding funders of the Paterson FEC include the CFE Fund, The Henry and Marilyn Taub Foundation, Paterson Restoration Corporation, Bank of American Foundation, Columbia Bank Foundation, and PNC Bank Foundation. Community partners, who will work to integrate the FEC in their programs and encourage their clients to make financial counseling appointments, include the Paterson Alliance, New Destiny Family Success Center, NJCDC, Oasis, Paterson Habitat for Humanity, the Paterson Housing Authority, the Paterson Free Public Library, and Paterson Public Schools.
In a special way, the Paterson FEC will also provide financial counseling to participants in Paterson’s Guaranteed Income Pilot Program, which launches in July 2021 and is supported by Mayors for Guaranteed Income (MGI), a national coalition of mayors and cities working to address poverty.
“Local leaders know first-hand the connection between family financial stability and community financial stability – and this connection is especially important during the current crisis,” said Jonathan Mintz, President and CEO of the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund. “Mayor Andre Sayegh and the City of Paterson are part of a growing national movement to bring free, high-quality financial counseling as a public service to their residents; we are proud to partner with Mayor Sayegh to help residents navigate the financial impact of COVID-19 and work towards a stronger financial future.”
First piloted in New York City under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in 2008, FECs across the country have worked with almost 104,000 clients, helping them reduce individual debt by over $146 million, and increasing their families’ savings by close to $22 million. In addition, a CFE Fund evaluation showed that this program works even for residents with very low incomes and other complex financial challenges. Paterson is one of over two dozen local governments working to launch a local FEC initiative.
About the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund)
The CFE Fund supports municipal efforts to improve the financial stability of households by leveraging opportunities unique to local government. By translating cutting edge experience with large scale programs, research, and policy in cities of all sizes, the CFE Fund assists mayors and other local leaders in over 80 cities to identify, develop, fund, implement, and research pilots and programs that help families build assets and make the most of their financial resources. For more information, please visit www.cfefund.org or follow us on Twitter at @CFEFund.