To help individuals build and or repair their credit, HACE has developed an intense and comprehensive credit repair program — HACE Credit Academy. This initiative has three components that aims to help consumers develop an action plan to repair their credit, develop money management skills, and build new behaviors for improved long term credit scores.
This program focuses on credit because it is a critical factor that touches many facets of our personal lives from getting cable services to buying or renting a home. Our low income consumers are at a greater disadvantage to maintaining good credit due to lower incomes and insufficient savings to cover unplanned expenses and emergencies. Our goal is to improve credit scores of program participants so that they are able to have access to affordable loan and insurance products, in some cases qualify for a job; providing a path for true equity in our community.
There are three components to the Credit Academy:
- Group Credit Counseling: The group counseling sessions are held bi-weekly for one month; each session lasts for approximately 3 hours. The group counseling sessions are held during weekend hours to accommodate consumers’ schedules. The Credit Builder-Track equips attendees with the tools and resources necessary to improve their credit history. Attendees that complete the Credit Builder-Track series receive an incentive of $50.00 gift card.
- One-on-one Credit Repair and Money Management Counseling: Upon completion of the group education series, HACE’s Housing Counselors meet with consumers for one-on-one sessions to further support consumers achieve their financial goals and improve credit history. At the first session a tri-merge credit report is pulled to review and develop a credit repair action plan to resolve credit issues and improve credit score. The action plan considers household income as well as other factors for improving credit in the short and longer term. Housing counselors will reiterate on how to obtain a free credit report to check on updates on credit history; why credit is important; how to maintain good credit; how to investigate and solve credit issues; how to access earned income credit; importance of various insurance products to protect assets; and developing a household budget.
- HACE Secured Credit Card: Upon completion of the group counseling on credit and money management, and individual counseling for a period of six months, eligible program consumers can obtain a secured credit card. It is very challenging for our low income consumers to repay creditors to repair their credit, build savings and meet deposit requirements to obtain a secure credit card. Once a consumer has met the bank’s criteria for the secure credit card for at least nine months, they may be eligible for a regular unsecured credit card.