Money Management Program Added at Windsor Agency

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Family Services of Windsor Essex is adding an official money management element to the services it provides.

Financial Fitness, a non-profit credit counselling group, has been integrated with Family Services.

It's an administrative merger, that will allow both groups to provide more frontline services such as debt management, credit counselling and retirement planning.

Family Services Executive Director Joyce Zuk says the partnership has been in the making for five years and this only makes it official.

"We expect to deliver the same excellent quality service to residents in Essex County but we also hope that we can augment that service through the administratives efficiencies, that we are going to achieve through the integration of our organizations."

Manager of Financial Programs at Family Services Wendy Dupuis says a good number of its clients struggle with debt.

"If they are staying up at night, if they have problems or if they are just not comfortable with the debt they have  or maybe they are not comfortable if a life circumstance happens where they would be."

Although the Windsor economy has turned around,  Dupuis says debt loads are not dropping.

"People are starting to pay more attention to their finances, however in that time, the amount of household debt has increased to $1.70 per every dollar that we earn."

Financial Fitness works with about 2,500 people a year for financial management, while Family Services works with about 400 people.  

Both groups say as a result of the merger, the clients will get better services and therefore, reduce their financial stresses.