Fund established for Circles grads

People who complete Circles of Hope’s anti-poverty training can now receive small low-interest loans.

For example, someone could receive a loan to buy a vehicle, which can be very important to getting or keeping a job, said Ashlee Gann of Families and Communities Together, the financial agent for Circles of Hope.

“Transportation is the No. 1 problem in Marion County for people in poverty,” said Jackie Volbrecht, Circles resource team member. “They can’t get to their jobs; they can’t get to their appointments.”

The primary purpose of the program is to acclimate Circles graduates to working with banks, Volbrecht said. People in poverty seldom have good access to banking, but the loan program will allow participants to build credit and learn about banking.

Volbrecht said one Circles graduate already has applied for a student loan from the program. Gann said the fund also could make loans to purchase appliances or to pay off a higher-interest loan.

Gann said the fund will allow Circles graduates to receive smaller loans than they could normally get at a bank, and nobody will be denied for prior credit history if they have completed the Circles program.

Central National Bank donated $5,000 to start the microloan fund. The program is a revolving loan fund, so when one recipient pays off a loan, another person may receive one.

Circles of Hope will seek additional donations to increase the fund and expand the program. Anyone interested in donating can contact Gann at (620) 947-3184.

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