The financial-counseling arm of Lutheran Social Service will launch Monday a new initiative intended to create sustainable financial health while reducing debt among residents of the North Side of Minneapolis and East Side of St. Paul.

The goal of “GetLifted” is to empower 2,500-plus residents with the “financial capability to effectively manage personal finances, including reducing debt, by learning from local community financial ambassadors about available tools and resources.”

LSS Financial Counseling said it will partner with local organizations and individuals to provide training in financial education. Following training, attendees will pass on their new financial knowledge and skills to others in their communities.    

 “There are many creative people who want to help in these neighborhoods,” said Cate Rysavy, senior director of financial services with LSS. “This initiative will provide the resources and opportunity to make a difference.” 

The Wells Fargo Foundation will provide a $425,000 “NeighborhoodLIFT" program grant to boost local homeownership and help revitalize the neighborhoods through the individuals and community organizations involved in the work.

The frayed-edge East Side of Saint Paul and the North Side of Minneapolis boast high poverty levels, but also growing housing values and modest rebounds of their main commercial arteries. However, bad credit and debt often encumber folks who don't know how to get organized financially.

Organizations and individuals who want to serve as ambassadors of GetLifted should apply June 19 through July 21. Following a one month application period, 14 organizations and 18 individuals will be selected to participate, based on their enthusiasm and creativity. Each party selected will work with 35-50 peers, neighbors and co-workers in an attempt to help 2,500-plus community members improve their financial prowess. The counselors will receive stipends.

The program launches Monday at 10 a.m. at the Capri Theater on W. Broadway and at 2 p.m. at the Eastside Financial Center, 965 Payne Av. in St. Paul.

This website will go live on June 19 with more information:  www.GetLiftedMN.org.

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