Public Employee Press
Escaping the pain of debt
overflow crowd came out to learn about ways to ease their credit crunch, erase
their debt and how to manage many other financial woes at the MELS workshop
on October 25.
on a tight budget, one without much wiggle room, its easy to fall into debt
that can then accumulate and become a crushing burden.
More than 100
members attended a workshop offered by the Municipal Employees Legal Services
unit of DC 37 on Oct. 25. Speakers addressed the related topics of debt, credit
and bankruptcy, offering specific, factual information on all three topics.
After a long, stressful day handling 911 calls, Tyhessia Martin traveled
from Brooklyn to learn about the best way to sort out her finances so she can
achieve her dream.
I have three children and I want to buy a home,
but I dont know if thats possible. Im looking for a realistic
way to pay off my debt, she explained. Martin is typical of DC 37 members
who struggle to stay afloat in an inflationary economy where housing and other
costs in New York City are an escalating burden.
that family finances can impact a persons emotional health and increase
daily stress loads. Presentations laid out the facts about credit: the cost of
borrowing money and how to establish good credit; how to obtain credit scores
and what the numbers actually mean; credit cards; interest rates; finance charges;
traps to avoid, and the dangers involved in only paying the minimum monthly payment.
Negative information affects your credit score, cautioned Robert
Martin, associate director of MELS. As the holidays approach, the habit of borrowing
money and increasing the load of debt to unmanageable levels holds an appeal for
stressed-out shoppers. Budgeting is one tool that can help families avoid future
problems such as the need to resort to bankruptcy. Budgeting is critical,
said MELS attorney Sheldon Barasch.
A budget is just a tool
that helps you to organize your thoughts about your money and how to disperse
it, said Michael Morgan, supervising social worker for MELS.
help members stay the course of sticking to a manageable plan for spending money,
MELS is offering a budget education support group. The group will probably have
four sessions and will begin in the early 2007. The subjects will include setting
realistic limits for spending, developing budget and record-keeping systems, debt
and savings, and stress and money.
To receive an application, mail your
contact information to MELS at DC 37, Room 1004, 125 Barclay St., NY, NY, 10007.