The Council of Churches of Greater Springfield and Cambridge Credit Counseling Create Financial Literacy Program for Local Residents

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CNN’s Almighty Debt leads to collaboration among local non-profit agencies

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We are excited to be working with the Council of Churches, helping empower the community to take control of their finances

In the documentary Almighty Debt, which aired recently on CNN, Pastor DeForest Soaries notes that debt is a bigger problem in America than racism. As the program makes apparent, there is plenty of evidence to support that opinion. Since the recession started in 2007, approximately 3.1 million home loans have been subject to foreclosure, and vulnerable consumers have had to fend off a barrage of scam artists trying to take advantage of their financial illiteracy. The documentary also shed light on some of the unique challenges facing African-Americans who are trying to deal with their debt, which has, in turn, prompted a number of community-based charities to begin joining forces.

In Massachusetts, the Council of Churches of Greater Springfield and a local non-profit, Cambridge Credit Counseling, have developed a three-part financial literacy program to help local residents manage their personal finances, safely and effectively. The first phase of the initiative is designed to help current homeowners avoid foreclosure, a huge problem in Springfield, which has the highest rate of foreclosure in the state. The second phase of the program is intended for prospective home buyers, helping educate them about the steps they need to take to prepare themselves and their finances before they commit to a purchase. The final phase is devoted to providing fundamental financial literacy education to program participants, including information about proper budgeting techniques, the basics of credit scores and reports, and how to make informed financial decisions.

“We are excited to be working with the Council of Churches, helping empower the community to take control of their finances,” remarked Christopher Viale, Cambridge Credit Counseling’s president and CEO. “Consumers need to know that they don’t have to face their financial difficulties alone. There are a number of non-profit agencies and charities willing to help.”

Archbishop Timothy Paul, President of the Council of Churches, shares a mutual enthusiasm with Mr. Viale and is pleased to collaborate in the endeavor. “To regain family stability in this taxing economic climate requires innovative, resourceful programs that are geared to stimulate financial recovery. The Council of Churches is vigorously motivated to help families obtain a fresh start. We are reaching out to our churches and are encouraging everyone to actively participate in this venture.”

The Council of Churches of Greater Springfield and Cambridge Credit will hold a joint press conference to bring awareness to this new program on Monday, November 22, at 2 pm. The press conference will be held at the Council’s offices, which are located at 39 Oakland St. Springfield, MA 01108.

Seeks to make “faith active in love” by addressing community-identified needs through public advocacy, lobbying, and education. This division coordinates the availability of specific services to the Greater Springfield community. It encourages and engages in study and action regarding issues of peace and justice.

Cambridge Credit Counseling Corp. is a professional housing and debt counseling agency dedicated to educating young adults on the importance of sound financial management, and to providing financially distressed Americans with education and debt management services appropriate to their needs. Visit Cambridge Credit Counseling Corp. online at To learn more about Cambridge Credit Counseling’s community initiatives, please visit


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