Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Niagara To Hold Ribbon Cutting for New Site in Lockport; Seeks to Economically Empower Lockport Residents
Niagara County Financial Literacy Coalition Initiative Expands, Brings Number of Niagara County Sites to 2
May 20, 2014
The Dale Association
33 Ontario Street
Among Lockport’s population of 41,694, nearly 6,000 Lockport residents live on incomes under the federal poverty level. An additional 6,800 are close to poverty, with incomes between 100%- 200% of the poverty level and about 12,800 are doing poorly or struggling financially. This is almost one out of every three in Lockport.
Knowing the dire situation, last Fall, Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) launched an initiative designed to provide opportunities for financial empowerment, education and awareness. The Niagara County Financial Literacy Coalition is a collaboration among over 25 human service providers, government and private companies in Niagara County. Through the Coalition, CCCS launched three unique services: financial coaching, financial literacy classes and access to Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA).CCCS opened its first office in Niagara Falls in the Family & Children’s Services’ Niagara Family Center in October 2013.
On Tuesday, May 20th at 10:00 am, CCCS will cut the ribbon for their new Lockport office at 33 Ontario Street, in partnership with the Dale Association. They invite the Lockport community to join their economic empowerment initiative.
CCCS raised $95,500 in funding toward this initiative ensuring successful implementation. In the past two years, the East Hill Foundation awarded $23,000, the John R. Oishei Foundation awarded $45,000, the United Way of Greater Niagara awarded $20,000 per year for the next three years and First Niagara provided $10,000.“We are proud to launch this much needed service in Niagara County,” said Paul C. Atkinson, CEO and President of CCCS. “Our goal is to provide the community with financial education that will help them attain security and success.”
The NCFLC approach identifies financial coaching for low-income populations as a core feature because its effectiveness helps families achieve their long term financial goals. CCCS has modeled this project on the Center for Working Families approach.
Our project is the first time that a model similar to the CASH Coalition in Buffalo is being used to benefit Niagara County residents. It addresses the community need for economic empowerment and serves a community that CCCS has served for nearly 50 years—low-income individuals and families. We plan to serve 750-1,000 residents annually.The Niagara County community is already strongly embracing this new project.
“The Dale Association is pleased to be partnering with Consumer Credit Counseling Service,” said Maureen A. Wendt, President and CEO of the Dale Association. “This partnership allows the residents of Niagara County easy access to financial counselors who will meet privately, one on one with people and financial education on topics designed to help people with budgeting and debt control. Consumer Credit Counseling Service has a proven track record of helping people with their financial goals and we are pleased to provide access to such a valuable service in the Lockport area on a regular basis."Support also came from the United Way of Greater Niagara.
“We are extremely excited to be a part of the launching of this program for Niagara County residents. Financial Literacy is a huge area of concern and funding a program to address this need is critical to the future stability of our community.” Said Carol G. Houwaart-Diez, President, United Way of Greater Niagara
First Niagara Financial Group has been a supportive partner in the coalition.
“First Niagara is proud to partner with Consumer Credit Counseling Service to invest in our community and empower all residents to thrive,” said Buford Sears, First Niagara Buffalo Market Executive. “The financial education and literacy opportunities that will now be available in Lockport will help even more individuals in Western New York achieve their financial goals.”
The philosophy behind the NCFLC is to break the cycle of poverty via free educational opportunities and counseling.The array of services that CCCS and the NCFLC offers:
1. Financial Coaching (One on One): Participants will meet with certified financial counselors for sessions on a quarterly basis.
2. Financial Literacy: Classes-Dollars & Sense; Credit Counts and Money in Motion
3. Access to Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)
Collaboration and synergistic partnerships play a key a role in the project. CCCS is counting on community engagement with partners in building the Coalition, and has received an overwhelmingly positive response from many local agencies. CCCS will use partners’ offices to deliver financial education and counseling services as needed--or requested. Participants in our financial counseling program will be provided with referrals to other agencies with whom we collaborate.
To date, CCCS has forged partnerships with the following Niagara County providers:
• United Way of Greater Niagara
• Family & Children’s Service of Niagara
• The American Red Cross
• Literacy Volunteers
• NiaCap (Niagara Community Action Program)
• YWCA of Niagara
• YMCA of Lockport
• Niagara Falls Housing Authority
• City of Niagara Falls Department of Community Development
• Worksource One
• Niagara University
• NCCC Single Moms Program
• NYS Tax Department
• Heart, Love and Soul
• Highland Community Revitalization Services
• Niagara Falls School District
• The Dale Association
• Niagara Orleans BOCES
• Lockport Main Street Inc.
For more information on the Coalition and CCCS —or to get involved—contact Tara Vogel at 716-712-2062 or firstname.lastname@example.orgAbout CCCS
CCCS is a non-profit, full-service credit counseling agency, providing confidential financial guidance, financial education, counseling and credit repayment assistance to consumers since 1965. CCCS of Buffalo helps consumers trim expenses, develop a spending plan and repay debts. Counseling is available at our Main Office in West Seneca, in one of our Satellite Offices, by telephone and via Internet. Visit www.consumercreditbuffalo.org for more information.