Low-income working residents of Carroll County can apply for short-term emergency loans under a new county program that begins June 1.
The Short Term Crisis Loan Program, to be operated by Human Services Programs of Carroll County, will dispense zero-interest loans of up to $250.
The loans are intended to pay for emergency expenses, such as when a car needed to get to work breaks down, said Diane Massey, administrator of the Carroll County Job Training Partnership.
Ms. Massey came up with the idea for the loan program.
"In this economy, it is much easier to save a job than to find a new one," Ms. Massey said.
"For me, this is a dream come true because I don't want to see anyone lose their job."
Ms. Massey said she came up with the idea after she "had one too many calls" from working people hard hit by unexpected bills.
"I've even had people who don't have the money to bury somebody," Ms. Massey said.
She has been working on the crisis loan program for three years.
People in part-time, seasonal or full-time jobs are eligible for the help, she said.
Loans will be repaid on a sliding scale based on income.
Those applying for loans will be required to contribute some of their own money toward the needed item, Ms. Massey said.
More than $20,000 has been raised for the loan fund.
In 1990, an anonymous donor gave $10,000 on the condition that the money be matched with an equal amount.
Another $6,000 was raised through a theater fund-raiser and through small donations.
The Carroll County banking community raised $4,000 with a casual-dress fund-raiser day.
The Short Term Crisis Loan Program will be administered through Human Services Programs.
People applying for the loans will also be referred to any other sources of help available, Ms. Massey said.
By using help from other programs, she said, "we hope to avert the need for the loan."
People interested in the program, either to apply for a loan or to make a donation, can call Lynda Gainor, Human Services Programs, at 857-2999.