The Jewish Free Loan of Greater Portland encourages families and individuals impacted economically by the coronavirus pandemic to apply for an interest-free loan. Loans of up to $4,000 are available to Jewish residents of Oregon and SW Washington. The loans are interest free and can be paid back over loan periods as long as three years. (NOTE: These loans take a couple of weeks; a short-term emergency fund is being created at JFCS)
In addition, Free Loan is seeking donations to enlarge the pool of funds available at this critical time.
Since Portland launched the free loan program in 2016, $94,000 in loans has been made to 32 individuals. In 2019, 10 individuals borrowed a total of $40,000.
Jewish or “Hebrew” Free Loan Associations have been in the business of providing interest-free loans to individuals across North America for more than a century. There is the recognition that sometimes life throws a wrench in one’s plans, and that the support of one’s community can make the difference in how that challenge is met.
Free Loan Chair Les Gutfreund is delighted the program has come to Portland. “Growing up in Detroit, my parents borrowed from Hebrew Free Loan when the furnace went out during a cold Michigan winter. They used loans for our simchas, too.”
“When times are good, we can help with loans for school or simchas; when times are bad, we are there for medical expenses when people become ill or to help when people miss paychecks if their workplace closes during the outbreak,” said Les. “That is the whole basis of Hebrew Free Loan … to help people when they are in need.”
To apply for a loan or to donate, visit jewishportland.org/freeloan. For details, email FreeLoan@jewishportland.org or call Ben Winkleblack at 503-245-6219 or Les at 503-932-7783.