COMMUNITY CAPITAL LAUNCHES A MICRO LENDING PROGRAM TARGETING REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS
Bridgeport, CT. – On Wednesday, July 23 Community Capital NY/CT and the International Institute of Connecticut (IICONN) officially launched the New Americans Loan Program. The objective of the program, partially funded by Citi Community Development, is to provide low interest consumer loans to IICONN’s refugee and immigrant clients. Representatives from Community Capital, Citi, and IICONN were in attendance, as well as Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch, and refugees from Africa.
“The New Americans Loan Program will increase access to nontraditional lending, and improve credit scores for our clients,” said Angela Andersen, Executive Director of IICONN, “by providing small loans ranging from $500-$2500. These loans will permit our clients to grow their microenterprises, receive educational training, or apply for immigration benefits, while building their credit. This program works directly towards our mission of increasing self-sufficiency for our clients.”
“We are very pleased to work with IICONN to offer this program to help new immigrants build a foundation in the US economy. These small loans create opportunities to build credit and acquire the assets that lead to economic empowerment. Community Capital has a long history of using capital innovatively to create an on-ramp to the mainstream economy for low income and disadvantaged individuals,” said Kim Jacobs, Executive Director of Community Capital.
The pilot program, housed in IICONN’s Bridgeport office, will offer educational workshops and classes ranging from financial literacy to small business planning, as well as one-on-one budget coaching.
“Roughly 16.5% of Connecticut’s growing immigrant population — which comprises 13.2% of Connecticut’s total population – is living in poverty,” said Lily Lopez, Community Development State Director, Citi. “This important pilot initiative will provide members of the immigrant community in Fairfield County with access to financial empowerment services and training, as well as the opportunity to apply for a microloan that will enable them to build credit — an essential step toward achieving financial self-sufficiency.”
Mayor Finch applauded the goals of the micro loan program. “I have long said that our immigrant community is what makes this city strong. I am happy to learn about this new IICONN venture that will help refugees and immigrants become self-sufficient. It’s good for them, and good for the city.”
Community Capital New York/Connecticut provides loans that create quality jobs, revitalized Main Streets, affordable homes and tax revenues to foster opportunity, change lives and create impact. Through flexible, innovative and responsive lending coupled with financial education, Community Capital creates economically healthy communities and enables traditionally underserved people to become stakeholders in the economy. Community Capital works outside the margins of conventional finance to bring individuals and communities into the economic mainstream and create financial independence through financial, educational and business development services to give low to moderate income people the resources needed to succeed. Community Capital makes the American Dream come true by providing working people with working capital and the power of knowledge. communitycapitalny.org.
The International Institute of Connecticut, founded in 1918, is a statewide nonprofit human service agency that assists refugees and immigrants in Connecticut resolve legal, economic, linguistic and social barriers so that they become self-sufficient, integrated and contributing members of the community. The Institute achieves this mission by providing a compassionate array of high-quality legal, social and educational programming and by promoting cross cultural understanding and decent treatment for all. It also provides specialized services to victims of serious crimes such as human trafficking, torture, and domestic violence. Each year, the Institute assists over 7000 individuals from its offices in Bridgeport, Stamford and Hartford.