Kentucky has become surprisingly cutting edge in terms of helping out domestic violence victims.
From Women’s E-News:
The Kentucky Domestic Violence Association has extended interest-free microloans to 41 women throughout its 15 member organizations since 2009. The loans are pegged to savings accounts that match every dollar saved with two dollars, doubling the financial lift.
While the interest-free loan is truly micro–typically between just $200 and $800 –it can provide a crucial financial boost, enough to help a woman fleeing abuse meet the first month’s rent on an apartment or pay for transportation to a new job. At the same time it can protect her from a predatory or “payday” lender that can charge interest rates that go as high as 400 percent, taken annually.
So let me see if I understand this correctly. Women escaping a bad domestic sitch are getting money. From a Domestic Violence Association. In Kentucky. Okay, it’s official, I guess I’m moving there …
What’s even more notable about this program, funded by over $200,000 in grants from the Allstate Foundation of Northbrook, Ill., is that survivors are getting their repayments monitored by credit bureaus that usually won’t report these types of non-traditional loans.
That means the women not only get crucial cash in hand, their repayments are also helping to generate and improve credit scores, essential for such personal-finance basics as renting an apartment or buying a car.
The safety advocacy group has managed to report their microloans to credit bureaus by working through the Credit Builders Alliance, a 4-year-old Washington-based group assisting the nonprofits that serve low- to moderate-income individuals to build their
credit and access conventional financing.
The Credit Builders Alliance has 100 members that offer microloans. All the loans are reported to Experian, based in Costa Mesa, Calif., and TransUnion of Chicago, two of the three major credit bureaus.
So, wait a minute here. A year ago, I lived in a four-bedroom/four bathroom house. I had a walk-in closet. My children could ride their bikes around the block. The lilacs smelled like heaven in the spring. I am now living in the attic of my mother’s barn (it’s bad to live in an attic and bad to live in a barn, but combine the two, and …). My credit has been shot to shit by the shenanigans my ex-husband was pulling in the months leading up to our divorce. I was a victim of domestic violence (the ex was a decent guy in general, but Dr. Hyde came out in full force when he drank). You know, I could use a “microloan” … but does that mean I have to move to Kentucky?