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Jacksonville Announces Launch of Free Financial Navigator Service to Help Residents Tackle COVID-19 Financial Challenges

February 1, 2021

 In partnership with national nonprofit organization the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund), today Jacksonville announced the launch of a free Financial Navigators program to help residents navigate critical financial issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Financial Navigators will be available remotely starting Feb. 1 to provide guidance over the phone to help residents access available programs and services to manage income disruptions and other financial concerns. Financial Navigators help residents one-on-one to triage personal financial issues, identify immediate action steps to manage expenses and maximize income, and make referrals to other services, such as emergency loan assistance and tax preparation. The City of Jacksonville will offer these Financial Navigator services through the Kids Hope Alliance in partnership with United Way of Northeast Florida.

“COVID-19 left an indelible impact on countless Jacksonville families,” said Mayor Lenny Curry. “Many lost their jobs or suffered significant financial hardships because of this virus. This Financial Navigators program promises to help citizens recover and navigate through this crisis. I am grateful to the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund and the United Way of Northeast Florida for their partnership in this effort to help Jacksonville families get back on track.”

Residents can access these remote services by completing the web interest form here or calling United Way 211 by dialing 2-1-1 or 904-632-0600 to be connected to a Financial Navigator. The Navigator will then call the client to begin their personal session. Organizations across Jacksonville can also refer clients directly to Financial Navigators.

United Way of Northeast Florida will serve as the operations lead for the program, providing the staffing and program infrastructure via its 211 helpline, which connects approximately 100,000 callers annually to available community resources.

“We believe change doesn’t happen alone and strong partnerships are key to changing lives,” said Michelle Braun, president and CEO of United Way of Northeast Florida. “The Financial Navigators program is a great example of this imperative in action. The reality is many families were struggling to make ends meet before the pandemic and the continued economic fallout is causing extreme hardship for many. But collaborative initiatives like Financial Navigators will change these odds and help individuals and families recover.”

The City of Jacksonville Financial Navigators program is funded by the CFE Fund, who also provided significant technical assistance and training to launch the program in Jacksonville and other cities and counties across the nation. The Financial Navigators initiative is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Citi Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and the Wells Fargo Foundation.

“Financial distress is a primary part of the COVID-19 crisis, and we’re pleased Mayor Curry and his team is making this a priority for Duval County residents,” said Jonathan Mintz, President and CEO of the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund. “The Financial Navigators program will help Duval County residents assess and prioritize their financial concerns and get connected with the right resources.”

More information on Financial Navigators, including access to the interest form for families, can be found in COVID-19 Recovery Resources on the Kids Hope Alliance website at kidshopealliance.org and United Way of Northeast Florida website at unitedwaynefl.org/financialnavigators.