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Federal grant provides classes to low-income residents

Unemployed attempt to manage debt

POSTED: July 7, 2011 11:30 p.m.
JACOB DEMMIT/The Times

Mark Fogg of Gainesville takes notes during a class that is part of the Transitioning to Financial Success series hosted by the Ninth District Opportunity and funded through a Community Development Block Grant by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and distributed by the city of Gainesville.

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Gainesville residents are about to get schooled in the importance of credit scores — but these aren't lessons they'll get from television jingles.

CredAbility is offering free financial education classes funded through $11,000 in grants as part of the Community Development Block Grant Funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

"A lot of people didn't grow up with the basics of financial literacy," Financial Education Specialist Lisa Ray said. "This really concentrates on how to be successful and it actually gives them the opportunity over a six- or seven-week period to put it into practice."

Participants will have the opportunity to speak one-on-one with budget counselors, review credit scores and learn strategies for staying financially stable.

They will offer two series, Transitioning to Financial Success and Empowering Women, which are available to low-income Gainesville city residents.

"They get out of it what they put into it," Ray said. "Some people come out of it just amazed at what they were doing and how easy it is to fix. A lot of people don't realize small things can make a big difference and motivate them to do better on other aspects of finances."

But the classes aren't just for those who have never heard the lessons before. Ray said as many people become unemployed, they find themselves needing help as they make lifestyle changes and attempt to manage debt.

Mark Fogg, who attended his first class Thursday, said he likes what he's seen so far.

"Just learning how to manage your money overall, that's what I'm hoping to get out of it," he said. "Folks can get some sort of edge on how to get ahead. That's the key and this class may give them that. There are certain basic things they can do to improve their lives."

Housing Program Manager Chris Davis said CredAbility was chosen to receive funding because it's a nonprofit organization that benefits low-income citizens. Though the city decides who gets CDBG funds, Davis said they are federal dollars.

The next Transitioning to Financial Success class will be held July 14 at Ninth District Opportunity Inc. Those interested in attending can contact James King at 770-534-8826.

The Empowering Women series will begin Tuesday at the Gainesville Housing Authority. For more information, contact Patrick Scarlett at 770-532-4085.

 



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