Financial Empowerment Center

Financial Empowerment Center Programs

Message from Andy Meisner

Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner is reminding taxpayers across the County although his office is closed to in-person interactions with the public that his Financial Empowerment Center is open online and by telephone. Since the closure of the Treasurer’s Office weeks ago, Meisner and his team of financial counselors have been advising county residents on financial matters, especially small business owners crushed by the state’s strategy to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

“The Coronavirus crisis has created unprecedented hardships for people trying to pay their property taxes, including job loss, loss of income and childcare challenges,” said County Treasurer Andy Meisner. “To those good people whose small business and livelihood are affected by coronavirus policy, know that you have my full support to adopt additional policies to limit the negative economic impact of this move and to pave the way for a speedy recovery as soon as the immediate health crisis is abated.”

“Sometimes families and business owners need help tackling financial challenges and they don’t know where to turn,” said Meisner. “Please contact the Treasurer’s Office today.”

Oakland County residents facing financial challenges will receive free financial counseling if they contact Meisner or financial counselor Reda Nafso at nafsor@oakgov.com or (248) 807-5287.

Background

Oakland County residents facing financial challenges will receive free financial counseling under a new Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM) grant awarded to the Oakland County Treasurer's Office. Treasurer Andy Meisner is pleased to announce that the $25,000 grant to establish a Financial Empowerment Center in Oakland County will offer free one-on-one counseling for Oakland County taxpayers on personal financial matters. The counseling will be done by counselors from JVS of Southfield, a community-based nonprofit organization.

"Sometimes families need help tackling financial challenges and they don't know where to turn," said Meisner. "This grant gives us another tool to help families plan a budget, assist with credit repair and home mortgages and many other financial issues our residents face."

Based on a New York City model currently being replicated nationally through the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund, the initiative builds on services offered by the County Treasurer to promote financial literacy, including on-site housing counseling for mortgage and tax foreclosure prevention, on-site referrals to the Accounting Aide Society, and a multi-media financial literacy art contest for Oakland County high school students.

"CEDAM is excited to work with the City of Grand Haven, the Oakland County Treasurer's Office and the City of Taylor to help residents create better financial stability through the assistance of free financial counseling," said Megan Kursik, Coordinator of the Michigan Communities for Financial Empowerment network at CEDAM. "The Financial Empowerment Centers in each community will target residents facing challenging financial times, helping consumers to reduce debt, improve credit and plan and save for their futures."

"Building upon a proven model from New York, this approach fits well with JVS' commitment to helping families become financially stable and self-sufficient." explained Leah Rosenbaum, JVS president and CEO.  "We are proud to partner with the Oakland County Treasurer's office and CEDAM to teach Oakland County residents how to effectively budget, manage and save their money."

The grant is part of a three site Financial Empowerment Initiative replication supported by CEDAM's Michigan Communities for Financial Empowerment network, generously sponsored by the C.S. Mott Foundation. Other grantees are the City of Grand Haven and the City of Taylor.

Contact

Reda Nafso is the lead counselor for the Financial Empowerment Center in the Oakland County Treasurer’s Office. Before coming to the County she worked at JVS, a prominent nonprofit organization, as their financial coordinator where she counseled people in the areas of housing, financial empowerment, entrepreneurship and small business and credit repair. She has worked with many important populations including people with mental illness and returning citizens. Ms. Nafso has an undergraduate degree from Central Michigan in Human Services and a Masters Degree in Communications Studies from University of Michigan.

Reda Nafso, Counselor, nafsor@oakgov.com, (248) 807-5287