Financial Empowerment Center Creating Measurable Results in Debt Reduction, Savings
October 16, 2014
City Program has Helped More Than 1,800 Nashvillians Since Opening Last Year
Partnership with Habitat for Humanity Helped Two Clients Purchase Homes
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Mayor Karl Dean today recognized the results of the Nashville Financial Empowerment Center after 18 months of serving Nashvillians. The Financial Empowerment Center, with multiple locations in Nashville, has served more than 1,800 clients and held 5,635 client sessions as of October, 2014, since the program started in March, 2013.
The Center had its busiest period from July 1, 2014 to Sept. 30, 2014, when counselors held 1,275 sessions. Additionally, the Center saw an increase in positive client outcomes of 60 percent over the previous quarter. Center clients have reduced their debt by nearly $900,000 since the start of the program and increased their savings by more than $230,000.
Additionally, Mayor Dean announced that the Financial Empowerment Center has partnered with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville to assist low-income families in need of housing. As a result, Habitat will host home dedications this month for two clients of the Financial Empowerment Center.
"Nashville residents have told us time and time again over the past year how much these services are needed and appreciated," Mayor Dean said. "It is incredibly meaningful to hear of a client who has paid off his first credit card or a single mother who can now pay the electric bill to keep the house warm for her children. We have witnessed some amazing progress from the clients, who finally feel like they are in charge of their financial future."
The Nashville Financial Empowerment Center provides free one-on-one financial counseling to city residents. It is a program of the Mayor's Office in partnership with United Way of Metropolitan Nashville. There are eight locations, including two main locations and six satellite locations. To make an appointment, call (615) 748-3620 or visit http://fec.nashville.gov.
Anyone can become a client of the Nashville Financial Empowerment Center as long as they reside in Davidson County and are at least 18 years old. Financial counselors speak English and Spanish, and additional language services are available.
"Although there are no income restrictions on clients of the Financial Empowerment Center, our critical focus is to make an impact on Nashville's most financially vulnerable citizens," said Eric Dewey, President & CEO of United Way of Metropolitan Nashville. "We serve clients from diverse backgrounds and income levels because they most likely have a variety of needs. Perhaps one person needs a budget, or someone else needs to get out of debt. The end goal for each client, regardless of their background, is to put them on a pathway to financial stability and independence."
Some of the services that the Nashville Financial Empowerment Center provides include helping a client understand credit reports and the impact of credit reports when applying for a job or housing; increasing or establishing a credit score; increasing savings; decreasing expenses; disputing items that need to be removed from a credit report; and creating a budget.
In addition, counselors from the Financial Empowerment Center teach a class on predatory lending for Habitat's HomeWORKS homeowner education program.
Through the new partnership with Habitat, Financial Empowerment Center counselors can assist clients who do not qualify for a home mortgage by helping to resolve debts and by providing financial coaching to prepare them for the application process. The Center also helps current homeowners maintain their good standing, as well as guide homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgage payments.
Habitat's home dedications for new Habitat homeowners Kenny and Maria Holley will be on Oct. 17, at 2 p.m., at 3125 Lauren Evelyn Way. A dedication for Tawanna Peters will be held on Oct. 24, at 3 p.m., at 1600 Soulshine Place. Neither family was in a position to purchase a home prior to coming to the Financial Empowerment Center.
"I knew we couldn't afford a bank mortgage on our income," said Kenny Holley, who is disabled after suffering a massive stroke as a result of a brutal attack during a robbery. Maria Holley is deaf; she works at Greyhound.
Peters, a mother of two children, is currently living with her sister after moving numerous times because she couldn't afford the rent. "My credit score isn't high, but I work hard," Peters said. "I just needed someone that was willing to see beyond my score."
"This partnership with Habitat empowers Nashvillians to improve their financial positions to become homeowners, and that is a good thing for these individuals and for the city," Mayor Dean said. "Being able to help these two families who may not have otherwise been able to purchase a home is a great success story."
Nashville was selected as one of five U.S. cities to receive funding for Financial Empowerment Center programs through Bloomberg Philanthropies' $16.2 million investment in the Cities for Financial Empowerment (CFE) Fund. Nashville is in its second year of a three-year grant.
The Financial Empowerment Center operates two main centers:
- Casa Azafrán
2195 Nolensville Pike, 37211
- Foster Street Center
298 Foster Street, 37207
Days and hours of satellite locations are limited and listed at http://fec.nashville.gov:
- Madison Branch Library
610 Gallatin Pike South, 37115
- McGruder United Way Family Resource Center
2013 25th Avenue North, 37208
- Metro Social Services & Metro Action Commission
Clifford Allen Building
800 Second Avenue North, 37201
- Nashville Career Advancement Center
NCAC Workforce Campus
665 Mainstream Drive, 37243
- Southeast Branch Library
5260 Hickory Hollow Parkway, 37013
- St. Luke's United Way Family Resource Center
5601 New York Avenue, 37209