Nashville awarded $2M grant to provide financial counseling to low-income residents

Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 5:27pm

Nashville is set to receive a $2 million grant aimed at low-income residents who need help reducing debt and building assets.

The grant is part of a collaboration by Bloomberg Philanthropies and Living Cities’ Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund, which chose Nashville as one of five cities to receive a grant from a total investment of $16.2 million.

The grant is meant to help provide one-on-one financial counseling incorporated into existing services offered in the city, according to a statement from Mayor Karl Dean’s office.

Dean and United Way of Metropolitan Nashville partnered in applying for the grant.

The philanthropies expect the three-year grant to serve about 5,000 Nashvillians at Financial Empowerment Centers (operated by United Way) where counselors will work with clients on financial issues.

Officials expect the centers to open in March, and they are set to be at the Levy Place Center in East Nashville and at the Casa Azafran Community Center, on Nolensville Pike near Interstate 440.

The United Way’s 18 Family Resource Centers, Metro Action Commission, Metro Social Services and state offices that provide welfare benefits through the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program will host satellite locations, according to Dean’s office.

Former Metro Councilman and former chairman of the Metro Homelessness Commission Erik Cole will oversee the Financial Empowerment Center program out of the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Community Development.

That position is to be funded through the Living Cities and Bloomberg philanthropies.

Belmont University is expected to train six United Way financial counselors to staff the centers.

Denver, Philadelphia, San Antonio and Lansing, Mich., were also selected to receive Financial Empowerment Center grants.

5 Comments on this post:

By: Ask01 on 1/9/13 at 5:53

While I applaud efforts to spur the homeless and low income individuals to help themselves, I have to wonder about a few issues.

First and foremost, I notice this is a three year grant. Given Mayor Dean's interest in the money and his past track record, I hope there are no hidden strings which will require the city to fund this after the grant ends. It would be true to form for our mayor to enter into an agreement which will cost us money even after he thankfully leaves office.

Second, wouldn't it be more advantageous to actually create jobs for those needing them than to create a boondoggle job for an ex councilman? I feel almost certain, given the nature of the work, those hired to provide the counselling will be capable of finding employment without the help of a grant, thus creating more boondoggle jobs.

I can only surmise Mayor Dean wishes to append this program to his resume as a bit of fluff to underline his facade of caring about the less fortunate. We need to watch out for Karl, as I fear he is setting his sights on higher political office. God help us all.

By: Jughead on 1/9/13 at 8:59

Tell them to quit buying drugs, having babies, eating junk food, and drinking Old English 40 oz'rs. That will fix the problem.

By: WickedTribe on 1/10/13 at 12:18

When you're low income, all the counseling in the world isn't going to pay your bills. Counseling is for middle class people with bad fiscal skills.

By: budlight on 1/10/13 at 9:49

Wicked I agree. And who's gonna get the 2 million dollars? 6 counselors from Belmont? DUH

By: courier37027 on 1/10/13 at 8:16

I do not know anyone--poor or otherwise--without a cell phone. There has to be a free app or radio where they can listen to Dave Ramsey. Probably a lot cheaper than this grant.