HOUSTON - New help is available for people struggling financially from the pandemic and winter freeze. The United Way is partnering with non-profit Capital Good Fund to offer small, low-interest Crisis Relief Loans.
Borrowers can use the loans for almost any necessity, receive financial coaching, and don't have to have good credit to qualify. The loans were introduced in the Dallas area last November, and are now coming to Houston.
"I had a 1996 Nissan Maxima that kept breaking down on me. It wouldnt start. It's just my daughter and I. I had to take her to daycare, I have to go to work," said a woman named Sherlie in a video on the Capital Good Fund website.
It's people like Sherlie that non-profit Capital Good Fund says it aims to help with small, low interest loans.
"It was life-changing for me to be able to get up in the morning and get into a car that I know is going to start, that's safe, that's reliable," said Sherlie.
Capital Good Fund and the United Way of Greater Houston are now partnering to offer small, low-interest loans and borrowers don't have to have good credit.
"In response to the pandemic, we created a special product called the Crisis Relief Loan. It's from $300 to $1,500. The interest rate is just 5%," said Andy Posner, Founder and CEO of Capital Good Fund.
"It's more about if you're able to repay that loan. So Capital Good Fund is going to look at what your situation was before the crisis that you've gone through," said Becca Fritze, Manager of Financial Coaching at the United Way of Greater Houston.
Borrowers can defer the first three months of payments, and then spread payments over 12 months.
Fritze says the loans can be used for a variety of needs.
"It could include medical costs, a car repair, a home repair, rent, if someone is behind on their rent payment. It can even be used to pay off an existing payday loan," said Fritze.
"A $500 loan with us is going to cost $16 with interest and fees. With a payday lender, it's going to cost $1,000 or more," said Posner.
Capital Good Fund offers borrowers financial counseling. It reports payments to credit bureaus to help build their scores, but will work with borrowers who are struggling to repay the loan.
"We'll work with them, restructure it, and keep them on time. So people will see a 70 to 90 point increase in their FICO score after six months," said Posner.
People can apply over the phone in English or Spanish.