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New program provides housing for homeless Sac State students

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Danielle Muñoz, right, pictured with fellow CARES case manager Jessica Thomas, says the new Rapid Rehousing Program will provide a “safe oasis” for homeless students during a “wild and volatile time.” (Sacramento State/Andrea Price)

By Dixie Reid

As many as 50 homeless students can be off the streets and living in safe, affordable housing, thanks to a new, state-funded partnership among Sacramento State, the CSU and two local social-service agencies.

The new $2.61 million College-Focused Rapid Rehousing Program (RRH) gets homeless students into a stable living environment that is guaranteed for nine months and gives them the tools to move on to regular community housing.

“Now is such a critical time to provide more support for students who are facing housing instability or homelessness,” said Susanna Curry, assistant professor of Social Work and an advisor to Sac State’s RRH program. She said students who struggle to make rent every month sometimes are forced to couch-surf or sleep in their cars, or they might not have a parent to live with or someone who can loan them rent money.

“We’ve seen these challenges increase with the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated economic crisis,” she said. “We know that these experiences can impact students’ overall well-being and academic outcomes.”

The RRH model puts students into housing quickly, offers short-term rental assistance, and provides case management that can help students learn skills and make adjustments that can help them remain stably housed beyond the program, Curry said.

Naomi Dotson, an Environmental Sciences major and former foster youth, said she will apply for RRH. She has been living in a Sac State residence hall on an Emergency Housing Grant since leaving a relationship last spring.

“I think that students need to be reminded that everyone goes through something, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on your education,” Dotson said. “Anytime I feel that my education is being threatened, I fight three times as hard for it.”

RRH rents range from $400 to no more than $500 a month for each nine-month lease, well below the region’s going rate, and include utilities and Wi-Fi.

To further help participating students, $200 of each participant’s monthly rent will be placed in a savings account. By the end of the lease, each student will have $1,800 to help them get into their own apartment.

Sac State is one of seven CSU campuses to launch RRH this fall using money set aside in the 2019-20 state budget for the program. Administered by the CSU Chancellor’s Office, the Sac State partnership – which includes local agencies Lutheran Social Services and Sacramento Self-Help Housing – will receive $870,000 annually for three years to run the program.

Sac State receives $160,000 annually to cover administrative costs and hire a full-time coordinator. The remaining $710,000 is split between Lutheran Social Services and Sacramento Self-Help Housing, which have secured student housing near the University. Each agency can offer housing to 25 students for nine months.

To be eligible for the housing program, students must be enrolled at Sacramento State, carry at least six units and have a GPA of 2.0 or better. Case-by-case exceptions may be made for students with a lower GPA.

Applicants will have to undergo a background check, but there is no need to have a co-signer, which eliminates a barrier many students face.

Applications can be made online with the University’s Crisis Assistance and Resource Education Support (CARES) Office, which will refer students to the housing agencies.

“Students can find a safe oasis and hope during a wild and volatile time,” said CARES Case Manager Danielle Muñoz. “While they’re working things out, they can continue going to school and maintain their enrollment, because now they have the security of a roof over their head.”

As the new academic year got underway this week, two students moved into RRH housing. Muñoz said relationships developed between the agencies and landlords and property managers will be important factors in the program’s success.

Lutheran Social Services, which has relationships with landlords in several apartment complexes, specifically serves students 18 to 24 years old. The agency’s case managers will help the students look for an apartment and offer assistance with the application and move-in process.

Once a student is settled, a case manager provides other needed support.

Sacramento Self-Help Housing works primarily with students 25 and older. The agency has four houses near Sacramento State and offers housing for students regardless of their legal, rental, or credit history. Case managers will work with students to rehabilitate bad credit and help them move into long-term housing.

“We hope that by participating in this program, students can rehabilitate their housing circumstances and be able to independently find housing for themselves in the future,” Muñoz said.



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Letter: Vote for Kiesha Preston | Letters

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The residents of Roanoke, Virginia, need to get out of the box of voting based on party affiliation. It’s time to vote for the best candidate to do the job.

Kiesha Preston is running as an independent and is the best choice for Roanoke City Council. When she was only three years old, she was troubled because a local Kroger store removed the kiddie carts. She asked me how to get them back so she could shop beside me. I told her to go to the manager and she did. She stated her case, and a few weeks later those kiddie carts were back in the store.

Kiesha also has presented a bill to Congress that was approved. The Virginia Domestic Violence Victims Protection Act prevents domestic violence victims from not being able to rent an apartment because of bad credit as a result of their abuser ruining their credit.

These are but two examples of Kiesha’s tenacity and getting results. We need people on council who have no agenda and are truly willing to work for the least of us.

Kiesha is not intimidated by those in power and will hold her own to help those who cannot help themselves. This is why she is the right person to get the job done.

Please do not be discouraged because you are tired of the same old same old where parties are concerned. You have another choice so please vote for Kiesha Preston. She has been working tirelessly on behalf of the people without being elected to an official office. Just imagine what she can do once she is officially on City Council.

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This One Credit Card Will Get You the Most Cash Back Right Now

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Let’s admit it, choosing the right credit card can be a stressful process. There are so many variables to consider—from annuals fees to credit score requirement—not to mention the various rewards and benefits each card offers, and how those align with your lifestyle and spending habits. Then there are those hidden fees and interest rates you have to reckon with. In other words, it takes a lot of work to make a truly informed decision when it comes to choosing a credit card that’s right for you. Perhaps a good cash back program is high on your credit card priority list because, well, who doesn’t like some extra money in their pocket?

To help you decide on the credit card that is going to get you the most cash back, the experts at personal finance site WalletHub compared more than 1,500 current credit card offers. From that large pool, they narrowed down the field to the cards that offer cash back rewards, comparing those offers based on initial bonuses, rewards earnings rates, annual fees, and more. From that analysis, here are the best credit cards that will get you the most cash back right now. And for more money matters, check out This Is the State Where Your Money Is Worth the Least.

8

Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Credit Card

Best for: Cash back on all purchases

Cash-back rate: 2.5 percent

Annual fee: $0.00 for the first year; $99.00 after that

What kind of credit you need to get one: Excellent

Learn more about the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature credit card here.

If you are worried about having buyer’s remorse after choosing a credit card, put that into perspective by checking out What You’re More Likely to Regret Than Anything Else You Do.

7

Discover It

Best for: People with bad credit

Cash-back rate: 1-2 percent

Annual fee: $0.00

What kind of credit you need to get one: Bad

Learn more about the Discover It credit card here.

6

U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card

Best for: Cash bonus for good credit ($200.00)

Cash-back rate: 1-5 percent

Annual fee: $0.00

What kind of credit you need to get one: Good

Learn more about the U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card here.

And to make sure you have money to pay off those monthly bills, avoid The Biggest Career Mistake You’ll Ever Make, According to Experts.

5

Chase Freedom Unlimited

Best for: No APR on purchases

Cash-back rate: 1.5-5 percent

Annual fee: $0.00

What kind of credit you need to get one: Good

Learn more about the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card here.

And for more things that will help you and your family stay on the right financial track, check out The No. 1 Sign You Shouldn’t Buy That House, According to Realtors.

4

Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Best for: People with limited-to-fair credit and looking for low annual fee

Cash-back rate: 1.5 percent

Annual fee: $39.00

What kind of credit you need to get one: Fair

Learn more about Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card here.

3

Citi Double Cash Card—18 month BT offer

Best for: Flat-rate rewards

Cash-back rate: 2 percent

Annual fee: $0.00

What kind of credit you need to get one: Excellent

Learn more about the Citi Double Cash Card here.

2

Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

Best for: Dining and entertainment

Cash-back rate: 1-4 percent

Annual fee: $95.00

What kind of credit you need to get one: Good

Learn more about the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card here.

1

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

Best for: Most cash back overall

Cash-back rate: 1-6 percent

Annual fee: $0.00 for the first year; $95.00 after that

What kind of credit you need to get one: Good

Learn more about Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express here.

And for more helpful information delivered to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

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Possible Raises Series B and Moves Fully Remote | State

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SEATLLE, Oct. 20, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Possible raises $11 million in new equity funding to expand the team and to provide additional products for its customers. Union Square Ventures led the round, with participation from existing investors Canvas Ventures, Unlock Venture Partners, Columbia Pacific Advisors, Union Bay Partners, Tom Williams, and FJ Labs. The company has also secured $80 million in new debt financing from Park Cities Advisors.

Furthermore, the company is now fully remote and recently onboarded software engineers from across the US and the globe. Possible is committed to distributed work and actively recruiting for a number of other remote roles.

Possible provides friendly access to capital and a simple way to build credit for people who otherwise would get a payday loan or get hit with a bank overdraft fee. The company uses real-time financial data, rather than a credit score, to qualify customers and provide funds instantly through its iTunes and Android apps. Unlike payday loans or overdraft fees, Possible loans are paid back in small installments over multiple pay periods to allow customers to catch their breath. By reporting on-time payments to the credit bureaus, Possible enables its customers to build credit history and eventually qualify for cheaper, longer term financial products. On average, customers with low credit scores see their scores increase by 70 points within 4 months.

Tony Huang, Possible’s CEO explains, “So many people who live paycheck to paycheck can’t afford to build credit history. We’re helping them do it for the first time while providing them with a friendlier and more affordable small-dollar loan.”

Since launching in June 2018, Possible’s given out loans to hundreds of thousands of customers, helping meet short-term cash needs while building credit history or establishing credit for the first time. These customers, often with bad credit or no credit history, are underserved by traditional banks. Possible fills that gap and provides financial access to those who need it most while giving them the means to climb their way out.

Gillian Munson, Partner at Union Square Ventures, explains the thesis behind their new investment, “Through tech innovation, data-driven insights, and a focus on the customer, Possible is well on its way to winning the hearts and minds of both consumers and regulators alike, and building a trusted brand that endures.”

A 2019 Experian study shows 34.8% of consumers are subprime and can’t access money when they need it. They pay $106 billion in punitive fees each year to the existing financial system for short-term credit products. These consumers are trapped in predatory debt cycles of payday loans and overdraft fees without the means to rebuild their credit or improve their financial health. While there has been a number of new tech-enabled products in this space, most lead to similar debt cycles and don’t address the harder issue of improving long-term financial health. That’s where Possible comes in.

Since the company is now fully remote, Possible is actively hiring talent across the globe. Tyler, Possible’s CTO, explains, “Being fully distributed allows us to access the talent pool of the entire world. Our success so far is a reflection of the quality of our people, and we believe hiring globally will allow us to find exceptional people to join us in achieving our mission.”

About Possible

Possible is a fintech company based in Seattle, Washington. The company provides a friendlier and easier way for customers to access capital while also building credit history and improving long-term financial health.

About Union Square Ventures

Union Square Ventures is a thesis-driven venture capital firm based in New York City. USV manages over $1 billion in capital across seven funds and focuses investments in portfolio companies with the potential to transform important markets.

About Park Cities Advisors LLC

Park Cities Advisors LLC (“PCA”) is a privately held, SEC-registered alternative credit manager based in Dallas, Texas. PCA is focused on private lending across the specialty finance and FinTech sectors and provides debt capital to companies across a variety of industries through asset-based financing transactions.

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