New financial empowerment center opens in Queens
by Lisa A. Fraser
Mar 22, 2011 | 10273 views | 0 0 comments | 79 79 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A new financial empowerment center has opened in Central Queens and Department of Consumer Affairs commissioner Jonathan Mintz, along with the Citi Foundation, Queens Community House and the Financial Clinic, celebrated its opening last Friday, March 18.

The center, which is in Jackson Heights, will also have two mobile centers at two Queens public libraries – the Long Island City branch and the Jackson Heights branch.

The new Center will help clients trudge through various financial challenges, such as money management, budgeting and negotiating with creditors while helping them to find affordable banking services, helping them with budgeting, offering credit counseling, debt management and government benefit screenings. The services are available in English, Spanish and Chinese, are free, and one-on-one.

The center, housed in the Queens Community House in Jackson Heights, was funded through a Citi Foundation grant of $250,000 and it is operated by the Financial Clinic, an organization that builds working poor families and individuals’ financial security by addressing their immediate financial challenges.

“When your finances get complicated, there’s nothing more effective than sitting down with a professional to review and solve your concerns on a one-on-one basis,” said Mintz.

Noting that the Department has been able to help thousands of New Yorkers reduce and consolidate their debt and set budgets to build families, he cited the ease with which people could find and make use of the free financial counselors.

“Thanks to Citi’s New York Community Development Team and Citi Foundation, we are delighted to be able to expand our network of Financial Empowerment Centers throughout central and western Queens,” Mintz said.

Brandee McHale, chief operating officer of Citi Foundation, praised the center's ability to help low-income New Yorkers.

“Financial inclusion brings low-income consumers into the financial system to help them increase income levels, build assets and move them out of poverty,” McHale said.

Executive director of the Financial Clinic, Mae Watson, noted that the center would deliver life-changing financial coaching to working families.

The Financial Empowerment Centers are supported by the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, which serves as an umbrella not-for-profit organization that was established to strengthen public programs serving the needs and general welfare of New Yorkers.

The Queens Community House and the Queens Library welcome the centers.

“Each day, 550 immigrants from 86 different countries gather at this site to learn English, embark on a path to citizenship, and become leaders and advocates for their communities,” said Irma Rodriquez, executive director of Queens Community House. “Financial empowerment is another way for these participants to take a proactive role in improving their lives by investing in their futures.”

For complete list of Financial Empowerment Centers, visit nyc.gov/ofe or call 311. The new Financial Empowerment Center and mobile locations are located at:

• New York City Financial Empowerment Center at Queens Community House

74-09 37th Avenue, 4th Floor, Room 417B

Jackson Heights

646-810-4050 ext.112

Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Tuesday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Friday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

• Queens Library at Jackson Heights

35-51 81st Street

Jackson Heights

646-810-4050 ext.112

Hours: Tuesdays and Fridays 2 – 6 p.m.

• Queens Library at Long Island City

37-44 21st Street

Long Island City

646-810-4050 ext.112

Hours: Mondays and Thursdays 4 – 8 p.m.

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