United Way of NWLA hosts grand reopening of Shreveport Financial Empowerment Center
SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - The Shreveport Financial Empowerment Center (SFEC), in partnership with United Way of Northwest Louisiana and the City of Shreveport, celebrated its one-year anniversary with a grand reopening and open house.
The grand reopening was held during the morning of Wednesday, May 19 at SFEC, located at 820 Jordan St., Suite 507.
In northwest Louisiana, 55% of households are either considered ALICE or are living below the poverty line. ALICE is an acronym that stands for: asset limited, income constrained, employed. These individuals and families are hardworking, but one paycheck away from a major financial crisis.
This is even more critical now, as residents deal with the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
SFEC provides professional, one-on-one financial counseling as a free public service to all residents, regardless of their income.
At the SFEC, professionally trained financial counselors help individuals and families manage their finances, pay down debt, increase savings, build credit, and access safe and affordable mainstream banking products.
Vice President of financial stability Rashida Dawson says this is a need in the community.
“Financial education is important because that affects your everyday life. You have to think about the fact that here a lot of people are spending over 30 percent of their income on housing. Then you have to think about what about education your children’s future?” Dawson said.
Dawson says specifically in Shreveport, 60% of residents are considered asset limited or income constrained, meaning they’re working individuals who live paycheck to paycheck, but cannot make ends meet. So far, 298 people are taking advantage of this new service.
“When we gave them the tools and we guided them with our financial counselors, they were, on average, able to save a little over $5,000 each,” Dawson said.
In Louisiana, 19.6% of households are living below the poverty line. In Texas, it’s 26%, and in Arkansas, it’s 18.1%. Mayor Adrian Perkins says financial literacy will help many families.
“It can be a tricky topic in our environment that requires so much on our families. Prices are going up by the day and having livable wages, jobs is kind of few and far between sometimes in our market,” he said.
This is a free service for anyone in need of advice on building credit, budgeting, and even homeownership counseling.
To learn more about the SFEC, click here.
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