Richmond launches 'Financial Navigators' to help those facing challenges from the pandemic

Posted at 11:32 PM, Jan 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-06 06:48:27-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- The City of Richmond has launched a new program to help resident struggling in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The program is run through the Office of Financial Empowerment and is backed by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Citi Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and the Wells Fargo Foundation.

Financial Navigators will provide over-the-phone guidance to residents to triage personal financial issues, identify immediate action steps to manage expenses and maximize income and make referrals to other services such as eviction relief, food scarcity and employment.

The City of Richmond will offer these Financial Navigator services in partnership with HumanKind nonprofit agency.

City Treasurer Nichole Armstead says the program will help connect individuals to resources to help them with basic needs.

“We've already know that that we have lots of nonprofits out here that are providing multiple services to help individuals, but do they know exactly who and where to go?” Armstead said. “This is going to allow individuals to be able to speak with someone and get connected to what resources will help meet their specific needs.”

Armstead pointed out the pandemic has taken a financial toll.

“I would say is that we've always had a need, in making sure that people know what resources to call,” she said. “COVID has just exacerbated that need. We have individuals that have been those that typically donate and give, and now they need to be recipients. So it's connecting individuals that have a need, and anyone can call, however we really are trying to target those that have been impacted by COVID-19.”

Through their partners, the program will help residents find food, and avoid eviction.

“We can give individuals resources to connect them to more food, or more assistance with utility payments,” Armstead said. “There is also hardship rent assistance, for those at risk of losing their home. Just a number of things.”

Armstead says connecting is straightforward.

“You can call (804)646-MORE and leave a message, and a navigator will call you back.”

You can also go to their website for more information on the program.