Financial Empowerment Centers (FEC) offer professional, one-on-one financial counseling services as a no-cost public service. City or county governments and trusted local nonprofit partners work together to offer financial counseling to all residents over the age of 18, connecting counseling into other social services including benefits access, eviction and foreclosure prevention, workforce development, re-entry efforts, and more. FECs in many areas can offer data-driven insights into how connecting financial counseling services to housing initiatives like eviction and foreclosure prevention can help residents to build financial stability while maintaining housing and offering pathways into wealth creation.


First launched in New York City in 2008 during the Bloomberg administration, there are now over 30 cities and counties who have replicated this powerful, data-driven model in their communities as part of the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund’s (CFE Fund’s) FECPublic movement; FECs already have helped more than 150,000 people build $45 million in savings and reduce more than $225 million in debt. Despite sometimes significant financial obstacles, clients who use FEC counseling succeed in opening bank and credit union accounts, reducing debt, improving credit, and saving for emergencies, as well as achieving other social service gains.

Unique to the FEC model is its emphasis on local government; a trusted voice for residents amidst a sea of scams and complicated financial choices, and that can connect financial counseling to administration priorities that build financial stability. Local governments also have a mandate to provide high-quality services at scale, and to do so with an eye towards ongoing sustainability, ideally through public funds.

On February 13, 2024, Greater New York AFN and Cities for Financial Empowerment held a webinar to learn about integrated financial counseling as a public service with a focus on the connections between financial stability and housing stability. Presenters shared lessons learned about FEC municipal counseling and service partnerships broadly, as well as from a recent CFE Fund pilot to connect eviction prevention with FEC financial counseling, and shared how funders can encourage and support this important work in their own communities.


Speaker Bios
An Evaluation of Financial Empowerment Centers: The FEC Counseling Model
Boosting Sustainable Homeownership in Detroit: Adding Financial Counseling to Property Tax Relief Programs to Help Stabilize Low-Income Homeowners
Intergenerational Wealth Transfer through FEC Counseling: A Multi-City Legacy Planning Pilot
Overview: Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) Counselor Training Standards
FEC Academy
FEC Training Standards