Pay It Forward Loan Program:
Pay It Forward is a no-fee, no-cost loan program offered to people chronically struggling to meet their basic needs. It allows us to offer assistance to people who wouldn’t qualify for help through our traditional charity model. LEAVEN collaborates with FISC (Financial Information & Service Center), a program of Goodwill Industries, to provide financial coaching to all borrowers as a contingency of the loan so they can learn to meet their basic needs and build financial self-sufficiency.
This program allows us to help people in their time of crisis, while recognizing that their emergency is not the result of an unplanned or unexpected situation. The program eliminates our clients’ need to access payday loans which can be unfair, deceptive and abusive to consumers. These loans are often marketed as quick and easy solutions to a financial hardship, preying on low-income borrowers who have no credit or bad credit. The high cost of borrowing and short pay-back period create a debt treadmill that makes struggling families worse off than they were before they received the loan. Borrowers may opt to pay back lenders before paying rent, utilities, medical bills and other basic needs. These loans don’t alleviate economic hardship, rather they leave these financially vulnerable households with fewer resources to meet their basic needs. Our loan is not just money. It includes a system of support, guidance and accountability.
This innovative approach ensures greater utilization of LEAVEN’s financial resources by “recycling” loan repayments into future loans. The return on investment is both the financial impact to LEAVEN of re-appropriated loan payments and the social impact to the client of financial empowerment.
In 2017, 139 households received financial counseling through the program.