Mayor Andre Sayegh is launching a Financial Empowerment Center to provide one-on-one financial counseling or money coaching to residents.
Financial Empowerment Center will have trained financial counselors to coach residents on banking, savings, debt, and credit.
“There’s many Patersonians that are struggling with their finances. We know that they can do a better job, like most of us, in managing their money,” said Sayegh at a press conference on Thursday. “Those that are struggling, challenged with finances, we can help them to reduce your debt, we can help repair your credit score. We can help you get banked, if you don’t have an account.”
Sayegh picked up the Financial Empowerment Center idea from attending former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg’s bootcamp for mayors. His administration obtained a $150,000 grant from the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund.
Grant funding will support the implementation and operation of the Financial Empowerment Center for the first 15 months. Sayegh will need to find $200,000 if he wants another $100,000 grant from the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund in the second year, according to public documents.
Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund has funded various financial empowerment programs in 103 cites in the U.S.
Newark and Jersey City have similar programs.
Sayegh selected the United Way of Passaic County to implement the program. The nonprofit was awarded a $143,500 contract on Tuesday night.
“I was a very big supporter from day one because I know that our community needed help on how to get their credit back in line,” said councilwoman Ruby Cotton.
Council members unanimously voted to support the Financial Empowerment Center program.
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