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Innovative Partnership Between City of Pittsburgh and Neighborhood Allies Offers Free Access to Financial Counseling to All Pittsburghers

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On Thursday, May 9th, 2019, Neighborhood Allies and the City of Pittsburgh publicly launched the Pittsburgh Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) which offers one-on-one professional counseling to ALL Pittsburghers as a free public service. Through this innovative partnership between Neighborhood Allies, the City of Pittsburgh and Advantage Credit Counseling Service, clients of the FEC now have access to experts that can help them open and utilize safe, affordable banking services, decrease debt, establish, maintain or increase credit score and build savings and better saving habits, at no cost to them.

“Everyone can benefit from the support of a financial counselor to help them realize their goals. Whether you want to buy a house or a car, or send your children to college, you can get help with your credit, debt, banking and savings. Our goal is that all will have access to these resources.”

-Sarah Dieleman Perry, Director of Economic Opportunity at Neighborhood Allies

Four roving financial counselors are now available to meet at 10 community locations across Pittsburgh. Schedule your FREE one-on-one session today by calling 1(800)298-0237 or emailing fecinfo@advantageccs.org.

  • Advantage Credit Counseling: 2403 Sidney Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15203
  • PA Career Link: 304 Wood Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
  • RTC Allegheny County EARN: 333 Forbes Avenue, 2nd Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
  • Focus on Renewal: 500 Chartiers Avenue, McKees Rocks, PA 15136
  • West End Library: 47 Wabash Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15220
  • CoLab 18: 100 S Commons, Suite 100, Pittsburgh, PA 15212
  • Homewood-Brushton YMCA: 7140 Bennett Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15208
  • Impact PGH: 329 E Warrington Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15210
  • Carrick Library: 1811 Brownsville Road, Pittsburgh PA 15210
  • Pittsburgh Community Services Inc.: 249 N Craig Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

The Pittsburgh FEC is one component of Neighborhood Allies’ Economic Opportunity for All Initiative. Through this initiative and our Asset Building Network, we provide the opportunity for individuals and families in Pittsburgh to increase their knowledge, hope, skills and assets. We develop strategic partnerships, raise philanthropic and government funding, replicate successful national programs, launch new or expand existing initiatives and provide ongoing data analysis for continued progress toward programmatic and client outcome goals.

  • Our Asset Building Network to coordinate local financial capability services. Launched in 2016, the network is a collaborative community for learning and advocacy that strengthens program and policy efforts to increase economic opportunity. We host a quarterly meeting of representatives of service providers; financial institutions; local, state and federal government; and regional entities such as United Way and Partner4Work.
  • Three Financial Opportunity Centers (FOC) offer three core services – employment counseling, access to income supports or benefits, and financial coaching – that equip clients with the tools and knowledge to make sound financial decisions that increase earnings, build credit, reduce expenses, and boost assets. Partners include Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Goodwill of SW PA, Mon Valley Initiative and Oakland Planning & Development Corporation.
  • The Financial Empowerment Center (FEC), an initiative with the City of Pittsburgh and Advantage Credit Counseling, provides free, one-on-one financial counseling by professionally trained counselors that help consumers with low incomes to manage their finances, pay down debt, increase savings, establish and build credit, and access safe and affordable mainstream banking products. Counseling is integrated into ten social service agencies across the city, so that those clients as well as neighborhood residents can obtain the service.
  • Fund My Future, a program of Propel Schools, offers incentives to families throughout Allegheny County to open bank accounts and save for their children’s future. Making regular deposits into children’s accounts creates habit and hope that translate into better outcomes for children. Partners include more than 20 local entities such as schools, afterschool programs, churches, daycare centers and libraries. Encouraged by the chance to win $1,000 each month, more than 2,800 families currently participate and over a quarter of these participants make a deposit in any given month.
  • Bank On Pittsburgh creates opportunities for unbanked and underbanked people to access basic, free or low-cost accounts with local financial institutions. The initiative integrates banking access into local social service programs such as the Financial Empowerment Center. Partnering with the Urban League and City of Pittsburgh, we promote the adoption of national account standards with additional financial institutions.
  • We created a Financial Counseling Cohort when we realized that there is an insufficient number of trained and experienced financial counselors in Pittsburgh to meet the growing demand for this service. Social service professionals have the opportunity to build their skills and provide a new benefit to their clients. With funding from Pittsburgh Community Services, Inc., 15 individuals have begun the Accredited Financial Counselor ™ program through the Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education, and meet monthly for additional peer supports.

 

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