Tamika Pittman (left) with Laltsha Cunningham (right) of JVS Human Services’ HarMoney Program.
Photo courtesy of JVS Human Services
HarMoney, a financial education program from JVS Human Services, one of the largest human service agencies in metro Detroit, is offering $1,000 for approved low- to moderate-income local families to be used towards a down payment on a home or for credit repair, and more local families than ever are now eligible. A virtual informational meeting will be held on Monday, May 24, when local families with a credit score of 620 and below can learn more about the financial assistance program which teaches participants about improving credit, savings, money management and home ownership. The program is underwritten by a $50,000 grant from TCF Bank and, when it began in November 2020, was originally only available to Oakland County families. Now, HarMoney has been expanded to include all qualified metro Detroiters and the new program, which has weekly sessions over 12 weeks, will begin on June 7. Upon completion of the program, a $1,000 one-time payment is available for participants to use towards collections, improving credit scores, or for down payment assistance on the purchase of a new home.
“The feedback we have received from participants in the first two programs has been phenomenal, from people who have struggled against many financial barriers to finally getting a grip on their money and improving their credit scores, and ultimately moving on to home ownership,” said Laltsha Cunningham, Financial Capability Supervisor at JVS Human Services. “We have been told that the course is life-changing.”
Cunningham said that the goal was to reach between 30 and 35 local families a year, and while most families so far had seen an average improvement of 20 points in their credit score, for others it had been as much as 35 points. Several former participants have reached out to their own family members encouraging them to join the program too, to help them gain control of their finances.
For one participant, Oak Park-resident Tamika Pittman, 47, the course has finally enabled her to understand why her credit score was always poor and where needless spending was happening, on purchases like eating out. “I could never get good deals on cars because of my low credit score,” she said. “Part of that was because I never really understood the ratio of what I could and couldn’t do with my money. Now, I’m paying off my credit cards and am very conscious of what I spend. You have to be receptive to doing something different, to step back and look at the flaws you are making financially,” said the single mom of three. “Now I make shopping lists for meal prep and I’ve cut back on going to Starbucks.” Pittman’s credit score has gone up over 30 points and on May 12 she will receive her $1,000 check, which she plans to put towards paying off credit card bills. Pittman, who is currently working at a hospital, hopes to be able to buy a condo soon as well.
“TCF is a purpose-driven company, passionate about building stronger individuals, businesses and communities. TCF’s Community Impact Fund supports local organizations because we know that together, we can do even more good in the communities where we live and serve,” said Laura Castone, Market Manager of Community Development. “TCF is proud to make this donation to JVS Human Services, which provides critical resources to local residents to help them take the steps towards home ownership.”
To learn more about HarMoney or to register for the informational meeting on May 24, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 248-223-4422.