Business

Mayor Walsh launches new office to address poverty and income inequality

Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced the formation Wednesday of a new Office of Financial Empowerment as part of an effort to address poverty and income inequality in Boston.

As part of that effort, financial empowerment centers will offer job search assistance, access to training for career development, and financial coaching to help people manage their resources and obtain available benefits,Walsh’s office said.

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The Roxbury Center for Financial Empowerment, based in Dudley Square, will be operated by the city, while a second financial opportunity center in the Financial District will be operated by the Jewish Vocational Service, which is among the groups supporting Walsh’s initiative.

A third center is planned for South Boston next year.

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Walsh cited data noting that 46 percent of Boston households do not have sufficient savings to live for three months if their incomes were disrupted by a job loss or a medical crisis. For African-American and Latino households in the city, those figures are 69 percent and 75 percent, respectively.

Besides the Jewish Vocational Service, other groups partnering with Walsh on the poverty initiative include the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley and representatives from the Local Initiatives Support Corp., a group that seeks to revitalize neighborhoods.

In a statement, United Way of Massachusetts Bay chief executive Michael K. Durkin said: “Partnerships are integral to this work. None of us can make progress on entrenched, complex issues such as poverty and income inequality alone. Our approach is to have multiple services and partners available in one location to work with individuals, coach them toward financial stability, and ensure that their children and families are also connected to other services they may need to thrive.” 

Chris Reidy

Chris Reidy can be reached at reidy@globe.com.
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