(Photo by Julie Zeglen)
The same city department behind Shared Prosperity, the five-year strategic plan aimed at alleviating poverty in the city, has been tasked with putting together a program that will improve the financial stability of Philadelphians across the city.
The Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity (CEO) is the entity representing Philadelphia, one of eight cities selected by the National League of Cities to build a system providing free financial services to residents for two years. Funded by the MetLife Foundation, the project has been appropriately named Financial Inclusion Systems and City Leadership (FISCL).
The pilot directly aligns with the goals CEO set for the city in the Shared Prosperity report: The first leg of the initiative was launching Financial Empowerment Centers in 2013, where Philadelphians can have access to education on debt reduction, credit improvement, asset building and consumer protection. CEO said the centers have already been used by more than 8,500 Philadelphians.
The FISCL program is expected to complement and build on those existing CEO programs and initiatives. The city is also able to apply for grants that will support financial inclusion efforts.
“Mayor Kenney strongly believes that financial stability is critical to eliminating poverty,” said CEO Executive Director Eva Gladstein in a press release. “The mayor has often said that that a child’s future should not be determined by his or her ZIP code. We believe this plan is just one part of his broader agenda.”-30-
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