Coronavirus creates economic hardships for families, increasing the need for professional financial advice

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh today announced that the Syracuse Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) will remain open for business remotely to Syracuse residents in need of financial counseling as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). An increase in employee layoffs has triggered a growing demand to understand and utilize resources in place to provide financial relief. The Syracuse FEC professional counselors are scheduling appointments, and meeting with clients virtually to connect them with economic options.

“The disruption caused by the Coronavirus has not only affected businesses in our community, but also the many employees who depend on paychecks from those businesses to keep a roof over their heads, food in the fridge, and the bills paid,” said Mayor Walsh. “By offering City residents the opportunity to work with professionals at no cost to adjust to various financial situations during this extremely challenging time, the Syracuse FEC is providing a much needed service.”

Emergency aid measures taken at the state and federal level have considered the many ways in which COVID-19 has impacted people already. Efforts to curb the financial hits people will take include: the suspension of student loan and medical debt collection; mortgage refinancing and waiver options; utility payment holds; and ceasing foreclosure procedures.

Counselors are preparing to help residents navigate and assess their eligibility for all of the new financial resources being released to the public. An influx in the number of calls that will come through for appointments is anticipated as the Syracuse FEC continues to serve as a financial stability asset in the community.

About the Syracuse Financial Empowerment Center

The Syracuse Financial Empowerment Center (Syracuse FEC) offers 1-on-1 professional, private, financial counseling as a free city service available to all City of Syracuse residents. Financial counseling helps residents improve credit, reduce debt, grow savings, and obtain safe, affordable banking.

In December 2019, the Syracuse FEC received a $25,000 grant from the Central New York Community Foundation to expand its service delivery, adding more counselor availability hours after a successful first six months. Since launching in July 2019, counselors have held more than 650 sessions with 330 unique clients. Overall debt reduction for clients has grown to $176,452; individuals have also been able to see an increase in savings by $86,848; 101 delinquent accounts have been made whole; and credits scores have been established or improved by at least 35 points for 37 people after working with Syracuse FEC counselors.

Residents interested in making an appointment with a counselor for the first time can register through the registration portal, email:, or call 315-474-1939 ext. 5. Returning clients can call the same number to set up a follow-up appointment.

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