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THE talk

by AdministratorFebruary/25/2015

Have you had the talk with your kids?

Not that talk.

Have you talked with your kids about money?

America Saves Week is a good time to begin a family conversation about money.

How do you begin such an important conversation? What can you say that will help them grow up to make thoughtful financial choices?  How do you help them understand the value of money and the importance of savings?  How do you do all that when you feel that you still have a lot to learn?

You start—by starting.

You start by sharing your own stories with the kids in your life.

        -The price of a movie ticket or ice cream cone when you were a kid                  

        -Your very first job

        -The first thing you saved up to buy

Your stories will open the door to insightful family conversations about money and saving. 

You may think one of the hardest parts of saving is getting started.  You’re right.  The smallest amount really will add up over time and help develop habits that will last a lifetime.  It’s an important step toward creating a generation of savvy savers.

Want to learn more?  Click to send away for your free copy of our workbook Great Minds Think:  A Kid’s Guide to Money.  It is filled with games, activities and easy-to-use conversation starters.  It’s available in English and Spanish.

And please pardon the shameless plug, a visit downtown to the Learning Center and Money Museum at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is a good way to keep the savings conversation going.  You’ll learn all about money. The museum is free.  It’s fun.  It’s really warm in the winter too!

Stop by during America Saves Week and tell us: have you had the talk?

 

Kelly Banks

The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

Vice President

Community Relations and Education

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's Only a Clip and a Click Away

by AdministratorFebruary/21/2015

Stop paying more for everyday products! Couponing for huge savings is on the rise, and if you aren’t clipping and clicking, you're giving away money! Imagine getting a year’s worth of toilet paper for 50% off, diapers at 60% off, and cleaning products for FREE! Where do you get these coupons? Lots of places! Your mom’s old-fashioned coupons still arrive weekly in the Red Plum mail publication as well as the Sunday edition of the Plain Dealer. Don’t worry if the winter has buried the paper under a feet of snow, the couponing future is online. There are multiple websites to print coupons and research store savings, specials, and policies. You will feel like you hit the jackpot when you walk out saving over 50% on your favorite items. Most stores accept manufacture coupons and even offer some of their own store coupons. Stores such as Target, CVS, and Rite Aid offer printable store coupons on their websites. Other store websites allow you the ability to load coupons to their store card, like Giant Eagle'ss E-Coupon program. Some retailers offer programs that send their store coupons right to your phone weekly, no printing necessary. Another great place to check for coupons is the entrance of stores. Walgreens and Kmart have coupons available in store, while other retailers like CVS have "Magic Coupon Machines" that print new coupons specific to you, daily, with the swipe of your store card. Getting the best price is all about stacking as many discounts as possible. To accomplish this you will want to purchase the item while it's on sale and use both a manufacture coupon and a store coupon. You are limited to one store and one manufacture coupon per item, so planning and research are paramount. There are numerous websites to help you with your couponing journey that offer helpful tips, great deals, and awesome printable coupons. Some of my personal favorites that helped me save thousands are Hip2save.com and thekrazycouponlady.com.

At first couponing may seem a little overwhelming and a bit scary, but with a little practice you'll be saving money in no time! A few helpful tips to get you started: 1. Stock up! If it's a good deal (and doesn’t expire), grab enough to last until the next good deal on the item. There is nothing worse then paying full price because your stockpile is depleted. 2. Be patient! Getting in the swing of couponing takes time, don't give up- the savings are well worth it. 3. If you won't use it- don't buy it! On occasion you'll come across a really good deal on something you won't use- skip it. Otherwise you'll be wasting money and defeating the purpose of couponing. 4. Be realistic! Have you ever watched extreme couponing on TLC? It's not realistic, so don't refer to it when figuring out your potential savings. Normally, saving 50% on products you use daily is AWESOME & possible! Before your first couponing trip make sure to check out each stores coupon policy. The best place to find this is on the stores website.

Good luck and happy couponing! -Ashley Rothstein

Lead Poisoning Prevention Week

by AdministratorOctober/20/2014

Did you know October 19-25th is National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week? Long-term exposure to lead can cause serious health problems from lead poisoning. Each year in the United States over 300,000 children ages 1 to 5 are discovered to have unsafe levels of lead in their blood. Throughout this week, NHS of Greater Cleveland has a table set-up with all sorts of informational materials, so, feel free to stop by our offices located at 5700 Broadway from 8:30am - 5pm.

Cleveland Department of Public Health, Lead Safe Living, and Healthy Cleveland are putting on free lead screenings for children ages 6 and under all around Cleveland. Lead poisoning is serious! Please take advantage of these free screenings! On Saturday, October 25th a Lead Poisoning Prevention Conference will take place from 9 am - 3 pm at 1201 Lakeside Avenue, with additional free lead screenings from 3:30 pm - 6 pm.

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Ohio’s Consumers to be Armed with Knowledge

by AdministratorOctober/15/2014

NHS Consumer Law Center Releases Statewide Consumer Handbook

The NHS Consumer Law Center is pleased to announce the release of “Consumer Courage: The Big Book of Ohio Consumer Rights”. The NHS Consumer Law Center is a trusted program of Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland (NHS of Greater Cleveland) arming the citizens of Ohio with the information needed to make informed, intelligent and financially safe consumer decisions, since 2012

“This manual is an asset for Ohio consumers” states Lou Tisler, Executive Director of NHS of Greater Cleveland.  “Now, if anyone wants to understand their rights, they can pick up a copy of “Consumer Courage” and quickly figure out the basic principles in any area of consumer law, before they make that important purchasing or borrowing decision.  NHS of Greater Cleveland is extremely pleased to provide a resource that will help many of Ohio’s citizens at a time when they need to make informed and financially intelligent decisions.”

Designed with accessibility for the non-attorney in mind, “Consumer Courage” is a 120-page manual that outlines all of the consumer laws that protect Ohio’s citizens.  Each law is shown in an easy-to-understand format that shows which businesses have to follow the law, what consumers can count on and a useful ‘what to watch out for’ section that shows consumers the red flags that might arise while they are making a purchase.  Written without complicated legal jargon, “Consumer Courage” includes a bonus car buying guide and information about how to avoid common scams.

ORDER YOUR COPY TODAY

This publication was made possible by a generous grant from the Ohio State Bar Foundation. “One of our foundation’s priorities is to improve public understanding of the rule of law,” said Stephen F. Tilson, President of the Foundation.  “In that vein, we are delighted to provide financial support for the creation of “Consumer Courage”, a book to help remove some of the mystery inherent in typical financial transactions.”

Anyone who buys something for their personal or household use, borrows money to buy it, or wants to have it fixed, can benefit from “Consumer Courage”. The handbook was created with all consumers in mind; in particular: teachers, lawyers, paralegals, counselors and public officials throughout the state will find “Consumer Courage” to be extremely beneficial.  The manual has been described as "A wonderful, easy to read book that every Ohio consumer should own and read, whether they're making a big purchase, using credit, or being harassed by any business,” by Ira Rheingold the Executive Director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates (NACA) in Washington, D.C. “I only wish consumers in other states had such a great resource." NACA is a nationwide non-profit association of over 1,500 attorneys and consumer advocates committed to representing consumers’ interests and to promote justice for all consumers in the ongoing struggle to curb unfair or abusive business practices.

Consumer Courage “translates the key provisions of consumer laws into straightforward English that people can understand and use,” remarked Kathleen Engel, who is a research Professor at Suffolk University Law School and a national authority on mortgage finance and regulation, subprime and predatory lending, and housing discrimination.  Kathleen Engel has authored many law review articles about predatory lending, the subprime mortgage crisis and the current state of the U.S. financial industry; and is co-author of The Subprime Virus: Reckless Credit, Regulatory Failure and Next Steps. “The ‘What to watch out for?’ sections should be turned into an app so anyone can have [those] tips at the ready when they are confronted with a sales pitch or feel they need to make a quick decision.  Kudos to the Ohio Bar State Bar Foundation for sponsoring such a critically needed resource.”

Mark Wiseman, Director of the NHS Consumer Law Center and author of “Consumer Courage: The Big Book of Ohio Consumer Rights” will be traveling throughout the state of Ohio over the next few months to educate Ohio’s consumers about their rights and how the manual can be used to protect their hard-earned dollars and to distribute the manual to organizations, institutions and municipalities. To obtain a free copy of “Consumer Courage”, or to schedule an appearance, please contact the NHS Consumer Law Center at 216-205-4478 or by email at info@nhsconsumerlawcenter.org

 

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FOR SALE: Environmentally Friendly Homes in a Great Community

by AdministratorOctober/6/2014

Sound interesting? Visit our website to learn the ins and outs of the Land Trust Program. We have four more homeownership opportunities for moderate-income households in South Euclid. With funding from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency and Cuyahoga County, we'll be doing a complete renovation and making the homes affordable to qualified buyers with about $35,000 of household income. I don't know about you, but, these homes already look on point, just imagine how awesome they will look post-rehab! Stay tuned as we will share updates on our Facebook and Twitter accounts.

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Updates from the Land Trust Program

by AdministratorOctober/1/2014

Because Home Matters, whether you rent or buy. Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland is adding affordable rental housing to its Land Trust Program portfolio with two projects that respond to neighborhood needs. We have openings in our Entrepreneurial Housing in Shaker Heights, where tenants rent a private bedroom in 3-bedroom apartments, sharing bath, kitchen, living and dining space with 2 other housemates. This unique project was developed by the City of Shaker Heights in the Moreland neighborhood adjoining the Shaker LaunchHouse business accelerator. With rents at $394.50 that include all utilities, ‘whiteboard’ walls and high-speed internet, entrepreneurs can live in a setting where it’s easy to collaborate. The units are open to any income-qualified individual. For more information, please shoot us an email at LandTrust@nhscleveland.org.

Construction is underway on Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland’s first rental project in the City of Cleveland. The 4-unit building, in the historic Ohio City neighborhood is undergoing an extensive renovation, keeping the historic façade while applying the latest green-building practices to the interior. Built circa 1898 and last renovated in 1989, the building is located in a neighborhood that has seen rapidly rising rents in the past 2 years.

NHS of Greater Cleveland is working with Catholic Charities Refugee and Migration Services to make units available to refugees. Catholic Charities settles over 300 refugees and asylees each year in the Cleveland area, many from Bhutan, Burma, Iraq, Syria and Somalia. They provide extensive re-settlement services to refugees over a 5-year period and have a strong track record of refugee families becoming self-sufficient. NHS of Greater Cleveland will also partner with the refugee services program on financial capabilities for residents and other refugees.

St. Paul’s Community Church, which operates the community garden across the alley from the building, will welcome residents to have garden plots in St. Paul’s Patch. Councilman Joe Cimperman led the way in securing City of Cleveland Housing Trust Fund assistance for the renovation, with Environmental Health Watch and Residential Energy Services providing technical assistance on energy efficiency. NHS of Greater Cleveland purchased the building from Ohio City, Inc. with a commitment to affordable rentals at the building through its Land Trust Program. Applications for rental will be available in November.

Planning for Growth. NHS of Greater Cleveland and Land Trust Program Director Marge Misak have won a coveted spot in the first round of the business planning fellowship of the National Community Land Trust Network. Working with consultants and colleagues from across the country, NHS of Greater Cleveland staff and board will develop a plan for expansion of the Land Trust Program. Through the fellowship, participating organizations will help the CLT Network develop a suite of sustainable business models for shared equity programs across the country. More information can be found here.

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NHSGC Prepares more than 900 tax returns, refunding more than $1 million to northeast Ohio

by AdministratorApril/21/2014

Free tax preparation program saves clients $400,000

Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland, a nonprofit organization with over 39 years of experience in northeast Ohio, prepared 917 free tax returns as part of the national Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, leveraging more than $1 million in total refunds. Working with community and corporate volunteers, the program helped 316 families claim $412,000 the Earned Income Tax Credit – EITC is the nation’s largest poverty relief program. As a proud partner of the Cuyahoga Earned Income Tax Credit Coalition, NHS of Greater Cleveland provided approximately 10 percent of all free tax preparation provided by the Coalition.

“Accurate and free tax preparation benefits our communities by saving working families hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax prep fees,” stated Lou Tisler, executive director of NHS of Greater Cleveland. “Families use their refunds to spend and save within our communities, providing more than $1 million in refunds is huge for our local economies.”

The Cuyahoga EITC Coalition began in 2005 with support from Cuyahoga County and now preparers more than 10,000 returns annually. NHS of Greater Cleveland, as one of the largest producing sites, increased the number of returns by 34 percent from last year. Clients indicate they will spend some of their tax refund on utility bills, rent, and basic needs – all of which are part of achieving, preserving, and sustaining home ownership.  

The free tax program at NHS could not be run without the generous volunteer efforts by Charter One Bank, Ohio Savings Bank, Third Federal Savings and Loan, Sherwin Williams, Forest City Enterprises, and John Carroll University. Volunteers are trained and certified by the IRS. Paid tax preparation does not have a rigorous education and registration component.

 

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Didn’t Make the Deadline? Get Your Tax Extension Documents Here

by AdministratorApril/15/2014

Well….it’s April 15th, and for many Americans that means facing the aches and pains associated with the deadline to file your 2013 Income Tax Returns. The IRS has claimed that they have already received over 100 million returns, and expect about 35 million more by midnight tonight. But gone are the exciting “wait in line at the post office” days. If you find yourself in need of additional time and don’t expect to make the cut, visit these helpful links below to obtain copies of Requests for Additional Time to File.

 

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

Ohio Department of Taxation

Regional Income Tax Agency (RITA)

Central Collection Agency (CCA)

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Notes from the Field: AmeriCorps VISTA Angie Carey

by AdministratorApril/11/2014

If you don’t feel like reading my whole post, my summary would be that serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA with NHS of Greater Cleveland has been a rewarding and enjoyable learning experience.

So, as I was saying, I have learned a lot from my experience here at NHSGC. I think one of the most important things that I was looking forward to learning that NHSGC has helped me with, is the total office experience. I have my bachelors of science degree in chemical engineering. I felt like a fool applying to jobs right out of college with just “janitor”, “dishwasher”, and “cashier” on my resume. But it hasn’t just been a great resume builder. I have learned how a typical office setting works, while being treated as an equal employee alongside everyone else.

I have heard horror stories from other VISTAs about being forced to work in the basement away from the rest of their coworkers to being the new janitor. Luckily, we have a way better staff. We talk about how next year we are going to make sure each VISTA has just one supervisor, whereas currently we each have about four supervisors, but it really hasn’t bothered me too much, as each one of my supervisors has been so helpful and accommodating.

The best part of my experience has been building my communication skills. I practiced a lot of public speaking in college, with about eight presentations per semester, but I wanted to keep furthering my abilities. I am naturally a shy person, so it is hard to speak in front of people. Everyone at NHSGC has been so helpful with this. I get pushed to push myself. It is a great feeling to know that everyone here wants us to achieve.

If you are considering serving as a VISTA in Cleveland,  I would definitely suggest Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland.

 

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Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland Receives $247,680 to Support Foreclosure Prevention Counseling Efforts

by AdministratorMarch/24/2014

Grant provides much-needed boost to northeast Ohio homeowners in danger of foreclosure

Cleveland, Ohio – Today, NHS of Greater Cleveland announced that it has been awarded $247,680 to support foreclosure prevention counseling efforts through the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program (NFMC).  The much-needed funding will enable NHS of Greater Cleveland to provide continued foreclosure counseling to area homeowners in danger of foreclosure. This welcoming news comes on the heels of the end of April deadline for the Save the Dream program in Ohio. More...

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