To help people stay in their homes, an anonymous donor has provided funds for the local Jewish Free Loan to offer rental-assistance loans. Three loans have already helped recipients remain in their homes.
The Jewish Free Loan of Greater Portland was started six years ago under the auspices of the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland. Since then, JFLGP has provided more than $150,000 in interest-free loans to 50 people and $28,000 in emergency loans (Covid, fire and housing crisis) to 23 people. Recipients have three years to repay their interest-free loans.
“We make no-interest loans for all different reasons,” says JFLGP Committee Chair Les Gutfreund, who adds eight loans were made in September. “For Free Loans across the country – except for in the areas like Detroit and New York and San Francisco where they’ve been around for 100 years – the biggest struggle that the free loan society has is getting the word out that we make interest-free loans.”
In addition to housing-crisis loans, recent loans helped a young person start a business, helped another pay off high-interest debt and helped a woman on disability pay off payday loans charging 36%.
“We want to make people aware of all the different causes for somebody to look at an interest-free loan,” says Les. “We’ve given all these different loans – for car repairs, home repairs, in vitro fertilization, business, rental assistance, medical bills, paying off high-interest credit cards, school tuition and camp fees.”
Now the fund has $180,000 available for new loans. The fund makes loans up to $5,000 with two guarantors, up to $2,500 with one guarantor, $1,500 emergency housing loans with no cosigner and $1,000 emergency loans with no guarantor. Payments for all loans are stretched out over three years with no interest.
“Twenty three loans have been paid in full, and we have collected on 99% of loans made from our traditional loan fund,” says JFGP Chief Financial Officer Ben Winkleblack.
To apply or to donate, visit jewishportland.org/freeloan. For questions, contact Les at 503-932-7783 or firstname.lastname@example.org.