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Financial program launches to help Milwaukee residents with pandemic-related economic challenges

Mayor Tom Barrett announced the launch on October 28 of the Financial Navigators Program, a free service to help residents navigate critical financial issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The City of Milwaukee will offer this service in partnership with Riverworks Development Corporation, a local nonprofit that offers financial coaching to help Milwaukee residents reach their full financial potential.

“With COVID-19’s many challenges, it is more important than ever that Milwaukee families have the support they need to navigate resources that build and maintain financial stability,” said Mayor Barrett. “We are confident that this partnership with Riverworks Development Corporation, funded by the CFE Fund, will link many people with much-needed help.”

The Financial Navigators Program helps residents one-on-one to address personal financial issues and identify immediate action steps to manage expenses and maximize income. Participants will also be referred for services available through organizations like the Rental Housing Resource Center and Employ Milwaukee. The program became available to Milwaukee residents remotely on October 28.

“Many people in our community are really hurting, and Riverworks is committed to helping people navigate these difficult and challenging times,” said Darryl Johnson, Executive Director of Riverworks. “Through this partnership between our Financial Clinic and the City of Milwaukee, we are hoping we can lessen the stress and pain that people are feeling.”

The Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund will provide the grant funding, technical assistance and training needed to launch the program in Milwaukee and other cities across the nation. Additional support is provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Citi Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the Wells Fargo Foundation.

“The pandemic has clearly heightened awareness around the financial hardships that so many people were already facing here in Milwaukee, and deep disparities that exist in society,” said Darlene Goins, Head of Financial Health Philanthropy with the Wells Fargo Foundation. “We applaud the CFE Fund for bringing together the City of Milwaukee, philanthropists, and financial services to reimagine solutions that can help improve financial stability and resiliency for individuals and families, particularly during this economic crisis.”

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Lee Matz

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