Yannek is a financial counselor at the City of Denver’s Financial Empowerment Center (FEC).

“Financial counseling as a public service is a new approach to financial services. We go through it from the lens of access and equitability,” said Yannek, “really breaking down those barriers to financial access.”

Regardless of their starting points, Yannek sees clients make improvements, sometimes as soon as their first counseling session. “You see [clients] get out of homelessness, out of crushing debt, get a high credit score – even for those who never had a credit score before.”

Client outcomes speak volumes about the successes at the City of Denver’s FEC, and Yannek insisted that these client successes go beyond just numbers. “The emotional changes can be just as big as the dollars and cents changes,” he said.

Together, Yannek’s clients then start setting new goals for the future. “Before it was ‘How do I get a meal? How do I get housing?’” in their first sessions. “Now,” he said, “it is ‘How can I start saving? How can I get this ball rolling?’”

Such improvements benefit not only the clients, but Yannek, as well. In his experience, “it’s just as uplifting for us as coaches to see clients either get out of bad situations, or improve their situations.