HFLA NEWS

The Extend Giving of Hebrew Free Loan of Austin

By Neena Husid & Hannah Lapin | September 2023

Pictured: Michaela and her son

This November, Hebrew Free Loan of Austin is celebrating its twelfth year. Having loaned over a million dollars to hundreds of people looking for a ‘hand up rather than a handout,’ HFLA has no intention of resting on its laurels. Board Chair Ed Hockfield said, “The popularity of our interest free loans for everything from family planning to tuition support and more, serves as proof positive, assistance is both needed and wanted. We have our work cut out for us, and we are proud to do it.”  

HFLA’s interest free aid extends beyond the ever-increasing Jewish community. Employees of Austin’s many communal Jewish agencies are also eligible for HFLA support. Such is the story of former Shalom Austin employee Michaela Guiterrez. 

When Guiterrez found herself in dire straits, trying to juggle the care of her young son with the increasing demands of divorce and bills that had become due, she learned about the work of HFLA. Emboldened by a Jewish coworker, she applied for a HFLA loan and received assistance. We all know, asking for help, especially financial help, is never easy. However, Guiterrez saw many positive aspects of borrowing from HFLA. 

 

Guiterrez said, “Despite my circumstances, HFLA treated me with respect and patience, immediately. That was what was so astounding. I received a response the day after I filled out my application. After doing paperwork and a having an interview, my loan came right away.” And though Guiterrez remembers the discussion with her HFLA loan leader as being somewhat tough, she understood from the start that her questioner, a well-versed HFLA board member, was bent on helping her. “Understanding how hard it is for anyone to start over, I felt embraced rather than alone,” said Gutierrez. 

Guiterrez praised HFLA for their quick turnaround in getting her the funds she needed to keep bankruptcy at bay. “Though my family has been there for me as much as they’ve been able,” opined Guiterrez, “this is the first time I have ever been helped by a community.”   

This November, Hebrew Free Loan of Austin is celebrating its twelfth year. Having loaned over a million dollars to hundreds of people looking for a ‘hand up rather than a handout,’ HFLA has no intention of resting on its laurels. Board Chair Ed Hockfield said, “The popularity of our interest free loans for everything from family planning to tuition support and more, serves as proof positive, assistance is both needed and wanted. We have our work cut out for us, and we are proud to do it.”  

HFLA’s interest free aid extends beyond the ever-increasing Jewish community. Employees of Austin’s many communal Jewish agencies are also eligible for HFLA support. Such is the story of former Shalom Austin employee Michaela Guiterrez. 

When Guiterrez found herself in dire straits, trying to juggle the care of her young son with the increasing demands of divorce and bills that had become due, she learned about the work of HFLA. Emboldened by a Jewish coworker, she applied for a HFLA loan and received assistance. We all know, asking for help, especially financial help, is never easy. However, Guiterrez saw many positive aspects of borrowing from HFLA. 

Guiterrez said, “Despite my circumstances, HFLA treated me with respect and patience, immediately. That was what was so astounding. I received a response the day after I filled out my application. After doing paperwork and a having an interview, my loan came right away.” And though Guiterrez remembers the discussion with her HFLA loan leader as being somewhat tough, she understood from the start that her questioner, a well-versed HFLA board member, was bent on helping her. “Understanding how hard it is for anyone to start over, I felt embraced rather than alone,” said Gutierrez. 

Guiterrez praised HFLA for their quick turnaround in getting her the funds she needed to keep bankruptcy at bay. “Though my family has been there for me as much as they’ve been able,” opined Guiterrez, “this is the first time I have ever been helped by a community.”   

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