Feb. 22 to 26 is America Saves Week, an annual event designed to encourage Americans to save successfully.
The event comes at the end of a year during which the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically impacted not only the District economy, but the financial situations of many District residents.
The District’s Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking (DISB) is planning a series of events of raise awareness about the importance of saving and reducing debt. They’ve also introduced a program that can provide some direction on how to do it.
“With so many Washingtonians still reeling from the financial crisis caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency, this week is a great opportunity to focus on the importance of emergency savings and saving automatically,” said DISB Commissioner Karima M. Woods.
DISB has introduced a new, free program to provide support to residents facing critical financial struggles during the public health crisis. The Financial Navigators Program will connect District residents with trained navigators by phone. Navigators will help District residents access programs and services to manage income disruptions and other financial concerns.
“The Financial Navigators Program will help offset the negative financial impact of the pandemic by providing residents with one-on-one assessments of their financial needs and directing them to vital resources,” said Woods.
The program provides guidance, online and by phone, to help District residents come up with strategies for personal financial issues, identify immediate action steps to manage expenses and maximize income. The program also will refer residents to other free DISB programs related to financial hardship or planning, such as Bank on DC, Financially Fit DC, and Foreclosure Mediation, and programs available through other District agencies and non-profit partners.
“Financial distress is a primary part of the COVID-19 crisis, and we’re pleased Mayor Bowser and her team are making this a priority for District of Columbia residents,” said Jonathan Mintz, President and CEO of the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund. “The Financial Navigators program will help DC residents assess and prioritize their financial concerns and get connected with the right resources.”
DISB will partner with the United Planning Organization (UPO) to administer this program. The Financial Navigators initiative is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Citi Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and the Wells Fargo Foundation.
Residents can access virtual services by calling 202-231-7908, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by completing the web form at finnav.org/interest-dc. A staff member with the Financial Navigators Program will send a short service agreement and follow up with a phone call to begin the personal session.