$20,000 Grant will Provide Sacramento Residents with Financial Counseling

SACRAMENTO -- Mayor Darrell Steinberg announced Tuesday that the City of Sacramento has been awarded a $20,000 grant from the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund.

It’s a planning grant that the city can use to start building a financial crisis center and provide free financial counseling to anyone who needs it. Clients of any financial background can work with professional financial advisors to reduce debt, increase savings and build credit.

According to Steinberg, too many people in Sacramento are on the brink of financial collapse that could lead to homelessness.

"A recent study from the website Family Assets Count found that nearly half of Sacramento households do not have enough savings to live above the poverty level for three months if they were to lose a job," Steinberg said.

Sacramento is one of 12 cities or metropolitan areas across the country to be awarded the grant. Others include Akron, Ohio; Detroit, Michigan; Greenville County, South Carolina; Houston, Texas and Memphis, Tennessee.

The $20,000 grant is just the beginning. In order to access $250,000 in funding needed to run the program, the city needs to raise an additional $250,000 to match it.

But Veronica Smith, Senior Development Project Manager for the City of Sacramento, says implementing human-focused programs like this is an important issue for the Sacramento region.

"In order for the residents in the city of Sacramento and the region to see the assets in their community, to see new investments in their community, we can’t just focus on the businesses," Smith said. "It really is about investing in people as well."

Six cities nationwide, including New York City, Denver and Philadelphia, have already started financial empowerment programs. CFE says clients of these programs nationwide have reduced their collective debt by $22.5 million and increased their savings by $2.7 million.