(Shreveport, LA) – In direct partnership with United Way of Northwest Louisiana and the City of Shreveport, the Shreveport Financial Empowerment Center (SFEC) celebrated its one-year anniversary with a grand reopening and open house on Wednesday, May 19. The event kicked off with a ribbon-cutting ceremony conducted by Mayor Adrian Perkins and United Way Vice President of Financial Stability, Rashida Dawson, followed by a tour of the center for community partners and the public in the afternoon.

In Northwest Louisiana, 55% of households are either considered ALICE or are living below the poverty line. ALICE, an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, are the hardworking individuals and families that are one paycheck away from a major financial crisis. This is even more critical to address now, as residents deal with the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Shreveport Financial Empowerment Center (SFEC) provides professional, one-on-one financial counseling as a free public service to all residents, regardless of their income. At the SFEC, professionally trained financial counselors help individuals and families manage their finances, pay down debt, increase savings, build credit, and access safe and affordable mainstream banking products.

“Going into the future, as we come out of this pandemic and our economy booms, the Shreveport Financial Empowerment Center will be able to do even more for our citizens,” said Mayor Adrian Perkins. “We all understand that when our citizens can build credit and eliminate debt, we are on our way to a much stronger community that is really and truly financially empowered.”

Since the SFEC’s initial launch, the program has saved clients more than $270,000 and reduced client debt by $300,000. To date, the SFEC has served 240 clients and conducted 894 financial counseling sessions.

“Finances are extremely important for all people, so they can build equity, build this environment, build Shreveport, and build assets of their own to be passed down to their family,” said Rashida Dawson, Vice President of Financial Stability.

The Shreveport Financial Empowerment Center is currently conducting in-person and virtual appointments. To learn more, visit https://unitedwaynwla.org/our-focus/financial-needs/financial-empowerment-center/