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Data shows staggering trend of minority communities living in poverty in Central Virginia

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RICHMOND, Va. — New data has shown staggering trends in Central Virginians of those who were living in poverty.

Black and Latino individuals in Greater Richmond and Petersburg faced significant inequities in terms of income and poverty levels, according to The United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg.

In their latest Equity Data Series Installment, the nonprofit found nearly 30 percent of black people in the region lived below 200 percent of the poverty line.

“This isn’t just a number. This is a person, this is a family, these are our community members and our friends,” said Audrey Trussell, Vice President of Community Impact. “Black individuals make up about 29% of the population, but they make up half of the folks who are experiencing poverty.”

Meanwhile, data showed Latino individuals made up only six percent of the population but accounted for 15 percent of people living in poverty in the region, according to that report.

Compared to white populations, which made up 62 percent of the population, they accounted for 41 percent of people experiencing poverty, according to the study.

Trussell said the pandemic hadn’t helped those trends.

“We’re starting to see an even greater gap in between folks who are already doing well, already stable financially, and folks who were not,” Trussell said.

She said barriers in access to banking could exacerbate the problem.

“It’s estimated about $40,000, over a lifetime is spent by households who don’t have standard banking access. That’s because of the fees and the costs,” Trussell said.

She added that there were several reasons for unbanked and underbanked populations, like bad credit history, distrust in the system or even transportation.

That’s where a Richmond nonprofit called HumanKind came in. Through a program called ‘Ways to Work,’ the nonprofit was able to not only offer fair interest vehicle loans but also educate people on how to handle their finances.

“We’re able to give them the keys to the car. And then this person can suddenly go out and interview for jobs that they thought were never possible, can look at moving to neighborhoods, accessing resources,” said Jonathan Gedeon, Capital Region Program Manager.

“It really starts with helping one person and then, you know, that person can teach it to their children, and their children can teach it to their children or their family members. And it makes a much bigger impact,” Gedeon added.

The United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg was investing more than half a million dollars in 15 different programs amongst 14 different nonprofits like HumanKind to combat barriers to equitable income and close that gap.

“There’s still work to be done. And it’s not to be sugar-coated that when everyone in our community thrives, the whole community thrives. And so, we have to be very honest in that conversation of we are making great progress, but we can’t let up,” Trussell said.

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How to Build Credit Without a Credit Card – MoneyWise.com

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How to Build Credit Without a Credit Card  MoneyWise.com

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Can You Buy Crypto With a Credit Card? – MoneyWise.com

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Ask Gareth Shaw: ‘I’m scared I’ll get rejected for credit card because of mistakes I made in the past’

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‘Credit-builder’ cards can be used to demonstrate that you are a responsible borrower

Answer: Well done to you for getting back on your financial feet. Climbing your way out of debt is a marathon – it takes sacrifices and planning, so you’ve taken some really important steps in your financial journey.

The good news is that the negative information – the records of missed payments, defaults and even county court judgments – won’t stay on your credit report forever. Details of your late payments can be viewed for six years after they were settled. Searches and rejections of credit typically disappear after 12 months. So this dark cloud won’t hang over you forever.

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Before we talk about applying for credit again, there are steps you can take to improve your credit health. Firstly, you should review your credit reports and make sure there are no errors that could be holding your score back. You can get your credit report for free from each of the three credit reference agencies – TransUnion, Equifax and Experian – and can ask them to investigate errors. Lenders and credit reference agencies have 28 days to respond to disputes.

Registering to vote by getting on the electoral roll can boost your credit score, while you may even be able to add the record of your monthly rent payments to your credit score by asking your landlord to report rental payments to firms like The Rental Exchange, CreditLadder or Canopy.

Experian has launched a new tool that allows you to share information about your banking habits and subscriptions – information which is not traditionally factored into your credit score – in order to increase your score. That means paying your council tax or even paying for Netflix and Amazon Prime could give your score a boost.

If you still want a credit card, your choice is likely to be limited to a particular set of cards designed for people with poor or ‘thin’ credit histories. These are known as ‘credit-builder’ cards, or sometimes ‘bad credit’ cards.

These cards have higher interest rates compared to the most competitive products in the market, to reflect the risk that a lender is taking in by providing credit to someone with a history of repayment problems. You can expect to find an APR of around 29 per cent. They also have lower limits, so when you apply, don’t be surprised to find that the lender will initially only give you £250 to £500.

However, these cards can be used to demonstrate that you are a responsible borrower, can repay on time and stay within your credit limit.

Here’s the golden rule – avoid borrowing money on these credit cards. Purchases tend to be interest-free for 55 days, after which you’ll be charged a considerable amount of interest. So limit the use of these cards, and when you do use them, try to pay them off in full. If you don’t pay on time, you will lose any promotional offer, be hit with a fee and your provider will report your missed payment to the credit reference agencies, reversing any good work you might have done. Set up a direct debit to ensure that your minimum payments are met in advance of the credit card payment date.

When you apply, use an eligibility checker first. This will ask for some basic information and carry out a ‘soft search’ on your credit file, returning a list of cards and the probability of your application being successful. That would be a helpful guide to find a card that is likely to accept you.

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