That would bring Brooklyn just below the national average.
“Consumer debt is an anchor hanging around the neck of our borough, weighing down Brooklynites and sinking their chances at a prosperous future,” said Adams. “Our consumer debt crisis is deepened particularly by our severe delinquency, which is at a magnitude that leads to problems like collection agencies, lower credit scores and a reduced ability to do things like get a job or buy a home.”
The announcement coincides with the launch of a public education campaign and consumer debt campaign that will be rolled out throughout April, national recognized as National Financial Literacy Month.
Adams has proclaimed April the second annual Brooklyn Financial Empowerment Month.
“One of the biggest issues I hear when it comes to consumer debt, particularly credit cards, is Brooklynites saying they simply don’t know the facts,” said Adams. “By connecting residents to free education opportunities with experts, we can employ the tried and true ‘each one, teach one’ model to put Brooklyn back in control of its financial destiny.”
Adams said that 17 percent of Brooklyn residents have debt that has been outstanding for more than 90 days.
“It’s a terrible situation to be in,” he said. “Delinquency of this magnitude leads to problems.”
Currently scheduled events include Survive to Thrive, a series of financial education workshops on Wednesdays from 6 to 8 p.m.; the Financially Savvy Youth Expo on Wednesday, April 8, from 1 to 5 p.m.; and A Small Business Grows in Brooklyn on Thursday, April 16 from 6 to 8:30 p.m., to name a few.
Many of the events take place at Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon Street, in DoBro. Representatives from the State Comptroller's Office will be attendance at many of these seminars to help Brooklyn residents search for unclaimed funds.
“Money is first and foremost a family matter,” said Candida Hinton, financial advisor for Transamerica, one of the organizations working to increase financial literacy. “But it doesn't come with instructions. That's why everyone needs a financial education from a financial professional. Financial mistakes and lack of information can cost us dearly. On the flip side, we can profit from making better choices and taking the appropriate action, financially speaking.”