As we start a new year, I’m hopeful. 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic brought many challenges to the City of Pueblo and to the country, from lives lost to businesses closed to significant sacrifice from healthcare heroes and essential workers. The past year was incredibly difficult for all of us – but already, we are working to build a stronger Pueblo in 2021 and beyond. 

One way we’ve done this is by committing to helping Pueblo residents deal with the financial impact of the pandemic. In October, in partnership with the CFE Fund, we joined 30 other cities and counties in launching our Financial Navigators initiative.  As so many dealt with lost jobs or reduced hours, we knew we needed to do everything we could to protect the livelihoods of Puebloans suffering because of this pandemic.  

Working with our partners at NeighborWorks Southern Colorado, our Financial Navigators initiative already has helped over 200 Puebloans take immediate action to manage expenses and maximize their income. Financial Navigators also have helped Puebloans connect to vital support services like rent help and energy assistance. In addition, this work has helped the City of Pueblo better understand community needs in real-time; as one example, the number of calls that Financial Navigators received about rental assistance showed us that we needed to dedicate more resources, including federal CARES Act dollars, to support residents in paying rent and staying in their homes.  

Our work to build a stronger Pueblo is also about looking ahead, to help our community during, but also after, this pandemic. To this end, we are working with the CFE Fund on a Pueblo CityStart initiative, a strategic planning process that engages community members and local stakeholders in creating a municipal financial empowerment blueprint. We are convening community members to gather feedback on how the City can help build resident financial stability, from expanding access to safe banking products to providing supports like financial counseling to hone in on the most significant financial issues facing Puebloans and work to make changes that support the financial stability of Pueblo families. 
As Mayor, I’m committed to building a better Pueblo – and that includes a financially strong Pueblo and financially stable and strong residents.