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New Initiative Will Support Pittsburgh Residents in Building Wealth and Achieving Economic Stability

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Neighborhood Allies has entered into a contract with the City of Pittsburgh to provide management support to the Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) initiative. The Mayor’s Office received a planning grant from Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund) to launch FECs in Pittsburgh, based on implementation first in New York City and replication in five initial cities in 2013. Pittsburgh is a part of the second national replication cohort.

FECs provide free, one-on-one professional counseling assistance with money management, budgeting, reducing debt, establishing and improving credit, connecting to safe and affordable banking services, and building savings. Financial counselors are placed in social service agencies that provide an array of services, such as housing, reentry, benefits access, and more.

Nationally, the FECs have served 80,000 clients, who have reduced $94 million in debt and achieved $9 million in savings.

Through a competitive process, Advantage Credit Counseling Service was selected by a local committee made up of Allegheny County Department of Human Services, the City of Philadelphia’s Mayor’s Office, the City of Pittsburgh’s Mayor’s Office, Neighborhood Allies, University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work, and United Way, to implement the FEC model. Advantage Credit Counseling will be hiring a program manager and four financial counselors. The committee will make decisions soon to award up to six agencies with a financial counselor.

In addition to the CFE Fund grant, local funders BNY Mellon Foundation and Hillman Foundation have contributed $215,000 to the first two years of operations.

The FEC initiative complements the existing Financial Opportunity Centers (FOC), which combine financial coaching with employment assistance and access to income supports, at Goodwill of Southwestern PA, Mon Valley Initiative and Oakland Planning and Development Corporation.

“We’re excited to be at the forefront of implementing successful national models, such as the FOCs and FECs, in partnership with the Mayor’s Office, local funders and nonprofits,” says Sarah Dieleman Perry, Director of Economic Opportunity for Neighborhood Allies. “These initiatives are expanding the access to high-quality, personalized financial resources that will enable more families to strengthen their economic outlook and build wealth.”


For more information on Financial Empowerment Centers (FEC) in Pittsburgh or Neighborhood Allies’ comprehensive Economic Opportunity For All work, contact our Director of Economic Opportunity, Sarah Dieleman Perry: sarah@neighborhoodallies.org

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