Hebrew Free Loan Fund Helps in Time of Need
Assistance for everything from IVF to mortgage payments
June 8, 2016 – NORTH MIAMI BEACH, FL – When Ken Rubman needed to take time off from selling real estate to recover from surgery for a detached retina, he was worried about how he would keep up with mounting bills. He heard about Hebrew Free Loan Association of South Florida(HFLA) through his local temple and contacted them. After going through the interview process, Rubman received a $4,000 interest-free loan, which allowed him to focus on recovering.
“If I had not gotten the loan, I would have rushed coming back to work and might not have gotten my eyesight back,” says Rubman. “I was able to spend the time and energy to heal. It took the pressure off. It was nice to have my heritage there to bail me out when I needed it.”
The Hebrew Free Loan Association of South Florida, Inc. is a non-profit organization that offers interest-free loans to Jewish individuals and families in urgent need and who may not qualify through normal financial resources. It is funded primarily by private donations.
HFLA offers interest-free loans with up to a four-year repayment plan. It has a number of programs including:
- Loans for up to $18,000 for IVF through the Making Miracle Babies Fund
- Loans for up to $10,000 for starting or expanding a small business through the Hebrew Entrepreneur Loan Program (HELP).
- Special Needs/Disability Assistance loans for families of children and adults with short or long-term special needs to pay for home modifications, school aides, after school activities/camps, therapy, equipment, etc.
HFLA of South Florida also offers up to $4,000 loans for emergencies, medical and dental expenses, car and housing repairs, life-cycle events, early childhood education, continuing adult education, divorce, immigration costs, victims of domestic violence, mortgage and rental costs, to name a few.
“We have been around since 1989 and you might say we are one of the best kept secrets,” said HFLA of South Florida President Andrew Weinberg. “We have a solid history rooted in Jewish tradition of supporting worthy persons in becoming or remaining self-supporting, self-respecting members of their community.”
This year so far, HFLA of South Florida has disbursed 12 loans for a total of $41,000 and has two more under review. In the previous two years, the organization disbursed $205,700 with no defaults to date.
“Our default rate is low because of the screening process and requirement that the loans be co-signed,” said Weinberg.
Rowena and Rick Wallach just finished paying off their $4,000 loan at the end of May. The couple was having financial difficulties and had fallen behind on their bills. They found the organization through an online search.
“I am Jewish. I typed in Jewish loans and found HFLA of South Florida. It’s really been amazing,” said Rowena Wallach. “It gave us some breathing room because we don’t like to fall behind on bills. I didn’t know where else to look.”
Steve Schraer received a $4,000 emergency loan after his air conditioner died one summer and another $1,500 loan for his daughter to attend a special summer camp to study the flute.
“She became much more proficient at the flute, she is going into high school now and is first chair,” he said.
Schraer’s father Jorge received a loan to help pay for his wife’s new cochlear implants.
“The Schraers are repeat offenders,” he joked.
HFLA of South Florida is part of an international network of more than 40 individual member agency organizations spanning the world. It provides loans in Miami-Dade and Broward counties and through an individual family-sponsored fund in Jupiter. It relies on individual donations and various grants from organizations such as the Jewish Federation of Broward County and of Miami-Dade County.
ABOUT HEBREW FREE LOAN ASSOCIATION OF SOUTH FLORIDA
The Hebrew Free Loan Association of South Florida, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, offers interest-free loans to Jewish individuals and families in urgent need and who may not qualify through normal financial resources. HFLA offers interest-free loans of up to $4,000 with up to a three-year repayment plan created on an individual basis. The HFLA loan committee meets weekly, enabling the loans to be readily available once the applicant has completed their loan application prerequisites, been granted approval and undergoes a personal interview prior to disbursement of funds.
Since 1989, Hebrew Free Loan Association of South Florida, Inc. has been funded primarily by private donations. Our funding program facilitates financial independence through interest-free lending. Each contribution is an investment in the dignity and independence of many individuals and families in our local Jewish community. As soon as monthly loan payments are deposited HFLA approves new loans and is able to help the next persons in need. Our clients understand our procedures and they are committed to timely repayment of their loans. This helps us to maintain our 98 percent-plus repayment rate and the perpetual recycling of charitable dollars.