City launches new mobile app offering services, financial aid

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Wave Staff and Wire Reports

LOS ANGELES — The city launched the Angeleno Connect mobile app and website Sept. 8 to connect low-income residents with city services and financial assistance.

Angelenos who don’t have a bank account can obtain an Angeleno Connect account and debit card with free withdrawal services at Wells Fargo’s ATMs. The card was first launched in 2020 to provide direct financial assistance to people impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The new online platform can help Angelenos receive financial assistance, as well as financial literacy information, including how to build credit and avoid predatory financial services.

COVID-19 laid bare the systemic inequities too often found at the heart of our communities — and as we continue to emerge from this crisis, we must rebuild an economy that truly includes everyone,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “At a time when countless Angelenos are in need of financial assistance and guidance, Angeleno Connect will bring them the benefits of a free debit card, financial support and resources, and direct access to critical city services.”

The program is a partnership between the city and Mobility Capital Finance Inc., which is overseeing the implementation of the card and app. The card is supported by Mastercard’s City Possible platform.

In the early days of the pandemic, we forged a unique partnership model that enabled rapid fundraising and aid disbursement to help Angelenos hardest hit,” said Miguel Gamino, executive vice president of Enterprise Partnerships for Mastercard. “This work laid the foundation for the program’s expansion centered on ensuring digitally inclusive access to integrated city services and furthering our shared commitment with Mayor Garcetti to close the racial wealth and opportunity gaps that persist.”

The website and app can also be used by Angelenos to connect with 140 of the city’s online services, including adopting pets and obtaining business licenses and permits. The city said in the future, L.A. residents will have one account to access their Los Angeles Department of Water and Power account, file a MyLA311 request and enroll children in youth sports programs.

“Our collaboration with the city of Los Angeles is a groundbreaking financial services model that cities across the nation facing challenges when trying to connect with hard-to-reach constituencies may emulate,” said Wole Coaxum, founder and CEO of Mobility Capital Finance. “The Angeleno Connect platform embraces Mayor Garcetti’s vision of high-quality, safe and secure financial products and financial literacy services while offering tools to address the wealth gap in the city of Los Angeles.”

“[Mobility Capital Finance] and Wells Fargo share a common goal of pursuing solutions that reduce the number of unbanked individuals, starting in communities with the greatest need,” said Darlene Goins, who leads the banking inclusion initiative for Wells Fargo. “We’re proud to support [this] new partnership with the city of Los Angeles by offering … customers the ability to use their Angeleno Connect card at Wells Fargo ATMs nationwide without incurring fees from Wells Fargo. Working together we’re taking another step forward in removing barriers to financial inclusion.”

The Angeleno Connect website can be accessed at www.lacity.org/AngelenoConnect.

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