'It Affects All of Us': Free Financial Counseling Helps Tulsans Thrive
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Reasons to be Cheerful
Posted: July 31st, 2023
In 2021, Latoya Tart found herself deep in debt. She had taken out several loans, and struggled to pay them off while still paying for other necessities, including rent and groceries. Then Tart ... learned about a program offering financial counseling free of charge to any resident of Tulsa, Oklahoma. She started seeing a financial counselor at The Financial Empowerment Center in September 2021. The Center is a partnership between the City of Tulsa and Goodwill Industries. "We are really building capacity at the city level, to support and grow and build collaboration among the providers in town who are working to move the needle on financial stability, financial resiliency for Tulsans," says Janae Bradford, director of the City of Tulsa's Office for Financial Empowerment and Community Wealth. During the first session with each new client, a counselor conducts a financial health assessment. "That's where the counselor and the client just go through the financial situation," she says. "How much are you making from your job? What money is coming in? What money's going out? And it's a completely non-judgmental, just comfortable, conversation about what are the facts." Then the counselor and client decide on their main focus area and set a goal. Since the Center opened in December 2020, the FEC has worked with more than 1,300 clients, and counselors have completed more than 2,000 sessions. There are currently 639 active clients working with counselors on their financial goals.
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