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New York City Joins Multi-Year National Initiative to Strengthen the Financial Health of People with Disabilities

New York City is the first to be part of a multi-year national initiative to develop training, tools, curricula, technology, and research to advance the financial empowerment of people with disabilities. This is great news considering that almost one million people in New York City live with a disability, that’s 12 percent of the city’s population. New Yorkers with disabilities are also twice as likely to be living in poverty as those without disabilities.

On Monday, January 29th, the de Blasio Administration joined Citi Community Development and the National Disability Institute to announce the launch of Empowered Cities, a national initiative that encourages communities to expand financial empowerment and economic inclusion to people living with disabilities and their families. The announcement includes the launch of EmpoweredNYC, the first local investment under the initiative, which will focus on strengthening the financial health of New Yorkers with disabilities across all the five boroughs.

EmpoweredNYC will employ a three-tier approach to advance financial capability and counseling for people with disabilities and their families:

Tier 1: Broad engagement and education — Case workers, nonprofits, and others will gather information and put together training to better understand and address individual financial situations. They’ll also deliver a message about financial capability and benefits, make the right referrals to one-on-one financial counseling, and strengthen service providers’ competence in serving people with disabilities.

Tier 2: Revolutionized one-on-one financial counseling with new expertise, outreach, and tools — Stakeholders will pilot a new financial counseling model made up of training, tools, and strategies customized to give substantial one-on-one guidance to people with disabilities.

Tier 3: Support services for people transitioning to work —This tier will support people with disabilities that want to transition to employment by providing specialized financial and benefits guidance.

Here’s what representatives of some of the organizations supporting the program have said about it:

We know that New Yorkers living with disabilities face unique financial challenges. That is why the City of New York is embarking on this new partnership to help people living with disabilities become more financially secure through revolutionized one-on-one financial counseling. We are committed to developing new strategies like this that help all New Yorkers achieve financial health
– DCA Commissioner Lorelei Salas

“Cities neglect the most vulnerable in society when they take a one-size-fits-all approach to the allocation of services and resources…”

“I am proud that EmpoweredNYC will act as a nationwide model for how cities can better serve people with disabilities by offering tailored information that will level the financial playing field for them and their families.”
– Mayor de Blasio

People with disabilities and their families often have to make critical and complex financial decisions almost daily, navigating insurance, health services, benefits, education and employment decisions, which makes financial planning and security challenging…

The national Empowered Cities initiative, together with the local EmpoweredNYC partnership, represents an important and collaborative first step toward supporting municipalities, financial counselors and nonprofit service providers with specialized training and resources to ensure that they are better positioned to serve the needs of all residents in our communities…
– Bob Annibale, Global Director, Citi Community Development and Inclusive Finance

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