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How Richmond families can get help saving money during the pandemic

Posted at 3:27 PM, Jan 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-07 18:04:51-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- A program has launched in Richmond to help people rebound from the economic toll of COVID-19.

Richmond's Financial Navigators program is designed to help people like Raqiyah Cooper.

The Richmond mother said financial fitness was a top goal for 2021.

"I'm going to spend more time increasing my savings and decreasing the amount of debt that I do have," she said.

Copper knows how important it is to have a plan, especially these days when the pandemic has left so many families in financial turmoil.

"I've run across a few families who were surprised that their unemployment benefits didn't continue or rollover so far," she said. "So, just trying to figure out how to stretch what you do have and how to save a few dollars. This year I was fortunate enough to figure out how to save a little emergency fund."

Cooper said she was encouraged to learn about the Financial Navigators program -- a partnership between Richmond's City Hall and the nonprofit HumanKind.

Financial Navigators will provide over-the-phone advice to aid Richmond residents identify immediate action steps they can take to manage expenses and maximize income and make referrals to other services such as eviction relief, food scarcity, and employment.

“We already know that we have lots of nonprofits out here providing multiple services to help individuals, but do they know exactly who and where to go?” Richmond City Treasurer Nichole 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.”

While it can be difficult for some people to ask for help as financial problems weigh them down, Cooper said the new program should be a lifeline to help families stay afloat.

"They are trying to work to provide resources for citizens," she said. "It's an amazing program and it says a lot about city leadership that they are willing to step up and lend a hand."

For more information, Richmond residents can call the City Treasurer's Office of Financial Empowerment at 804-646-MORE (6673).

Virginia Together: The Rebound Richmond campaign is here to help. Find information on who is hiring, investigations into unemployment payment issues, financial advice on making ends meet, and mental health advice on managing the pressures. These stories will be featured often on CBS 6 News and can be found by clicking this link.