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  • Jane O'Connor, Communications Intern

How To Build Credit While Experiencing Homelessness or Poverty

Maintaining good credit is extremely important in the United States. Being able to maintain good credit allows one to have access to specific financial tools, such as insurance and loans, that can be beneficial for their household. Those experiencing homelessness have a harder time maintaining good credit, which in turn makes it more difficult for them to find affordable housing and avoid the cycle of debt.

It may seem that fixing bad credit is nearly impossible for someone experiencing homelessness or poverty. However, here are a few tips to help get your credit back on track:

  1. Check your annual credit report for errors, and to make sure any errors have been corrected.

  2. Pay your bills on time! Different payment plans can help you keep track of when your bills are due.

  3. Immediately address any missed payments that have occurred.

  4. Manage what you spend and buy when using your credit card in order to maintain as low of a balance as possible.

  5. When you have a high balance, take initiative and pay your bills early so that they do not go unnoticed.

  6. Avoid closing old accounts.

  7. Make sure to use both your old and new credit cards in order to maintain a good score.

  8. Manage how much credit you are applying for at a time.

  9. Make sure to plan ahead by properly assessing your credit card payments and determining if they fit in your budget.

  10. Show responsibility so that you can gain trust with your lender.

"Most people are surprised to learn that income is not a factor in their credit scores," says Todd Christensen, education manager of nonprofit debt relief agency Money Fit. "Neither is employment status or housing status."

Anyone can begin to improve their credit score, regardless of income:

  1. List all your debts and make a detailed budget

  2. Educate yourself

  3. Seek out free community resources, such as financial literacy courses

  4. Find cheap or free credit counseling

  5. Make sure your on-time payments count!

For more resources, please visit:

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