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Helping Treasure Coast residents clean up their credit file, goal of UF/IFAS Extension St. Lucie workshop

TREASURE COAST, Fla. — UF/IFAS Extension St. Lucie has teamed up with St. Lucie County Community Services staff in offering debt relief to residents in St. Lucie, Martin, and Okeechobee counties.

Funding from the Credit Score Improvement Grant has assisted residents in paying off a small outstanding debt which has seen a boost in credit scores by as much as 40 points. The grant, offered by the Treasure Coast Community Action Network, has helped 20 out of 52 participants in paying off small debt.

“The biggest challenge has been getting participants to complete all of the steps necessary to qualify for the grant,” said Carol Roberts, UF/IFAS Extension St. Lucie agent specializing in community resource development and who is leading the program.

To qualify, residents must register for a free virtual workshop called “Everyday Money.” The workshop starts with a video component that provides a host of information and resources about using spending plans, best practices in credit card basics, deciphering credit reports, and more.

Upon completion of the video and post-survey’ participants are eligible for the grant. They sit for a credit report review with an Extension agent. This can be done over the phone, through a video conference, or in-person while adhering to Covid-19 social distancing and health safety measures. It is that simple.

The grant provides relief for outstanding debt of not more than $300. Higher balances already in collections can oftentimes be settled for an amount that fits the grant.

There is no income level requirement to participate in the workshop or grant, said Roberts. “The grant is designed to help resolve credit file issues of those who had a misstep while learning to manage credit. That can happen to anybody. If someone is too deep in debt for this payoff to raise their score, they’re referred to a reputable credit counselor.”

Those living outside the eligible counties are welcome to view the class as well for their own knowledge; however, they will not qualify for this geographically limited grant.

The grant will continue until August 2021 or until all grant monies have been spent – whichever comes first.

For more information, register or contact Roberts at the St. Lucie Extension office at 772-462-1895.

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By: Lourdes Rodriguez, 954-577-6363 office, 954-242-8439 mobile, rodriguezl@ufl.edu

The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human, and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS brings science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries and all Florida residents.

ifas.ufl.edu  |  @UF_IFAS

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