Mount Vernon, New York Launches No-Cost Financial Navigator Program to Help Residents Tackle COVID-19 Financial Challenges
Or Call (914) 222-8615 to reach a Financial Navigator
The City of Mount Vernon was selected by the national nonprofit organization the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund) to receive $80,000 in grant funding, technical assistance, and training to launch a Financial Navigators program.
The Financial Navigators program is designed to help residents deal with the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, providing remote assistance in navigating critical financial issues by connecting clients to social services and resources.
The City of Mount Vernon is working with Urban League of Westchester to provide this free public service for all City of Mount Vernon residents.
Trained Financial Navigators will provide structured guidance over the phone that will assist people prioritize, strategize, and find help during disruption to their income and other financial concerns. Financial Navigation services are available in Spanish.
Helping residents navigate the financial impact of COVID-19 through the Financial Navigators initiative is a critical part of the City of Mount Vernon’s front line emergency response efforts.
The CFE Fund’s mission is to improve the financial stability of households with low and moderate incomes by embedding financial empowerment strategies into local government infrastructure. The CFE Fund is a national nonprofit organization that supports over 80 cities and counties across the country.
Accessing Financial Navigator Services
People can request a financial navigation appointment directly or through other community organization referrals.
- To do so, complete the webform. Referring organizations may either fill out the web form with the client or share the link to the intake form.
- To complete the form, residents/referring organizations will need only to provide the following basic information:
- Client name
- ZIP Code
- Language preference
- Phone and/or email address (NOTE: A phone number is required for Financial Navigator services. Though optional, residents who wish to receive follow-up information must also provide an email address.)
- Navigators will attempt to contact clients a maximum of three (3) times per interest form submission. Because Navigators are working remotely, clients will not be able to call the Navigators back but are welcome to sign-up again via phone number or the web form if they have missed all three (3) attempted contacts.
The Financial Navigation Session
Financial Navigation services will be delivered over the phone; session length will depend on what the client wants to focus on, but will generally last no more than 30 minutes. During the session, Navigators will work with clients to identify services to help address their financial concerns. Tactics may include:
- Prioritizing payments and when to make them, including:
- Tips on negotiating with creditors, including credit card companies, student loan servicers, and personal and business lenders to pause payments without accruing interest;
- Determining if utility payments can be paused without disruption of service; and
- Considering options to leverage unemployment insurance and/or short term disability
- Ensuring receipt of potential future federal payments such as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act; and
- Providing guidance and connections to enrollment for unemployment insurance, food security benefits, rental assistance, utility assistance, childcare assistance, and other available resources
- Eviction and foreclosure prevention
- Domestic violence
- Child abuse
- Shelter and housing
During the session, the Navigator and client will identify next steps to begin addressing the client’s financial issues; clients will receive a document via email outlining those next steps. If a resident has additional questions, they may call the program again; they may be served by a different Navigator.
Navigators are not financial counselors: they do not have ongoing relationships with clients or help them work through long-term action plans. Navigators also will not provide direct cash assistance to residents.
If you have questions regarding the City’s Financial Navigator program, please contact Monica Hughes, Community Development Specialist at phone number (914) 840-4022 or email Mhughes@cmvny.com.
About the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund)
- The CFE Fund’s mission is to improve the financial stability of households with low and moderate incomes by embedding financial empowerment strategies into local government infrastructure. The CFE Fund is a national nonprofit organization that supports over 80 cities and counties across the country.