Affinity Plus financial education efforts help homeless individuals find independence

Classes on budgeting, predatory lending, resume building, and understanding credit help residents of Grace House prepare for the workforce.

GRAND RAPIDS, MN (June 11, 2015) — Since February of 2014, employees of Affinity Plus have been sharing their financial knowledge through a series of recurring courses to residents of Grace House, a homeless shelter in Grand Rapids, Minn. Covering a range of topics including budgeting, predatory lending, resume building, and understanding, Affinity Plus prepares residents for employment and managing their finances in their lives beyond Grace House.

The relationship between Affinity Plus and Grace House was forged to provide opportunities for residents to develop professional skills, allowing them to become more independent.

“For all people, it’s important to understand that the first advocate for your financial life is always you,” said Branch Manager Ann Mack. “Predatory lending and debt consolidation scams exist. Our courses give Grace House residents the tools not only to protect themselves from becoming victims of these scams, but how to successfully build a strong financial foundation.”

Teaching isn’t the only component of the Grace House relationship. Affinity Plus employees have the opportunity to listen to the personal stories shared by residents, field questions, and learn more about their situations.

“Although we are the ones teaching these courses, we find ourselves learning a lot from the residents that we can in turn use to provide better service to our members,” Mack said. “They ask questions our members may be afraid to ask about common terms and rituals we take for granted in the financial world, so it has been a great lesson for us to lay a solid foundation of understanding for our members before progressing into advanced, big picture financial analysis.”

The regular class schedule wrapped up in May and will resume this fall. Financial education materials used by Affinity Plus are provided by the Affinity Plus Foundation. Materials, including handouts and videos can be found on the Foundation’s website at

Photo: Grace House facility.

About Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union
Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit cooperative that puts people first above profits. We are committed to empowering consumers – for knowledge, for understanding and to know there are alternatives that focus on the success of people, not the bottom line. Members of Affinity Plus receive maximum value through competitive rates, minimal fees, and unique, member –centric products and programs. Affinity Plus is the largest credit union in Minnesota with state-based assets and has 27 branches located throughout the state. With more than $1.7 billion in assets, Affinity Plus is based in St. Paul and is owned by more than 180,000 members. Through a broad range of eligibility criteria, almost anyone can become a member of Affinity Plus. Additional information is available at or by calling 800-322-7228.

About Grace House
The mission of Grace House is “To provide safe, temporary shelter for individuals experiencing homelessness, and connect them to community resources.” Since 2006, it has served more than 200 individuals, families, and children each year. For more information about the nonprofit organization, visit

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