KWMU: Financial Literacy Program 5/28

May 27, 2009

Thursday, May 28th, the topic of KWMU‘s St. Louis on the Air will be financial literacy for all ages.  Guests on the program include Ms. Suzanne Gellman, Consumer Economics Specialist at University of Missouri Extension; Cassandra Kaufman, Director of Community Investment at the United Way of Greater St. Louis; and Yvonne Maldonado, Youth Specialist at Kingdom House.

Be sure to tune in to 90.7 FM from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. tomorrow for a great discussion about financial literacy!

To read more about KWMU’s Facing the Mortgage Crisis programs, CLICK HERE.

Renters and the Mortgage Crisis

April 22, 2009

Yesterday the St. Louis Post-Dispatch published an article about the effect of the mortgage crisis on renters–if a rental property is foreclosed on, even renters who pay their rent on time every month can find themselves out on the streets with little to no warning. 

The article mentioned a few bills in the House and the Senate that are trying to extend the length of time renters have in foreclosed properties, but none of the bills have been passed yet.

If you or someone you know may be in this situation–if your landlord has been foreclosed on, or you think he or she may be–call United Way’s 2-1-1 Referral Service at (800) 427-4626.  They can connect you with local, trusted resources. 

To read the full article, CLICK HERE.

Mortgage Scams

April 20, 2009

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported today that the Missouri attorney general is suing two companies they believe are involved with mortgage scams.  To read the full article, CLICK HERE.

Over the summer Ruth Ezell did a Living St. Louis segment on mortgage scams.  You can check out the video below.

Legitimate housing counseling agencies won’t contact you or send out advertisements.  Their services also shouldn’t cost anything.  You should be wary of any company that seeks you out and/or that is charging you a lot of money for housing counseling.

If you or someone you know is facing foreclosure, make sure you use a HUD-certified housing counseling agency.  To find one, call United Way’s 2-1-1 Referral Service at (800) 427-4626.

Debt Settlement Companies

April 20, 2009

Yesterday in The New York Times there was an article about debt settlement companies.  The article features one West Virginia family who used a debt settlement company to try to manage their thousands of dollars of credit card debt, only to end up with higher credit card balances than before.  The company took around $4,000 from the family, but didn’t help them manage their credit cards at all.

During these tough economic times, we need to be aware of companies saying they’ll take care of foreclosure or credit card debt.  Make sure you work with a non-profit counseling agency; for foreclosure help, the company should be HUD-certified

If you or someone you know needs credit counseling, call United Way’s 2-1-1 Referral Service at (800) 427-4626–they’ll help connect you with trusted resources.  You can also contact one of our partners, ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions, for help with credit card debt.  If you think you may have been part of a fraudulent scheme, contact the FBI.    

To read the full article from The New York Times, CLICK HERE.

Funding for United Way’s Helpline

March 23, 2009

Last week the St. Louis Business Journal announced that the United Way of Greater St. Louis’s 2-1-1 helpline will be getting $238,000 in federal funding.

Throughout our work on Facing the Financial Crisis, United Way has been a valuable partner—their 2-1-1 referral service has connected many people to trusted resources. We’ll keep you updated as we learn more about what the funding will mean for the United Way of Greater St. Louis, and potentially for our region.

To read the full article in the St. Louis Business Journal, CLICK HERE.

The Financial Crisis Explained, Part 4

March 18, 2009

In this final segment from our January call-in program, the panelists talk about using home equity loans to pay off credit card debts—something they don’t recommend. Also, St. Louis resident Sue Livingston talks about how her home was saved after watching KETC. Ms. Livingston sought help from Beyond Housing and she wants people to know that it’s okay to ask for help.

The Financial Crisis Explained, Part 3

March 16, 2009

In this segment from our hour-long call-in show that aired in January, panelists answer questions from phone calls, e-mails, and the audience. Included are how we can educate kids on financial literacy, and if it’s possible to waive late fees and reduce interest rates for credit cards if you negotiate with your credit card company.

Staying Positive While Job Hunting

March 6, 2009

Even though we’re facing an economic crisis, now more than ever I think it’s important to be optimistic—but as the media constantly talks about how bad the economy is, it makes it more and more difficult to try to stay positive.  As a graduating college senior, I’m just beginning my job search, and every day it’s harder to think about looking for a job in this market.  But today I ran across an article on that made me feel a little better.   


The article basically says that if you’re looking for a job, you need to ignore the negative news.  The economy may be tough, but now is the time to be proactive—because there are fewer jobs available, the sooner you get started on your job hunt, the better.  Experts interviewed for the article say it’s important to be flexible—that means possibly moving, taking a part-time job instead of a full-time one (for the time being), or changing industries.  The article also noted a few industries where there are more jobs available: agriculture, government, education, and health care.


St. Louis has been hard-hit by the financial crisis—as of December 2008 the unemployment rate here was 7.1%, and it’s only gotten worse in the past couple months.  But like the article says, we have to try and look past the bad news, and instead focus our job searches and get a little creative.


If you’re looking for a job, you can check out some of our partners’ employment services:


Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis


University of Missouri Extension


United Way’s 2-1-1 Referral Service


To read the full article on, click here.

Our Community: Mississippi Building

February 25, 2009

We all know how the financial crisis is affecting us individually—layoffs, home foreclosures, and the loss of retirement savings. But how does the financial crisis affect area businesses? For a recent Living St. Louis segment producer Anne-Marie Berger shared the story of Paul Buzzetta, a local restaurant owner whose hopes of opening a new Sicilian restaurant have been put on hold because of the financial crisis.

Everyone’s being affected by the crisis, and we’re all in this together—individuals, families, and communities. If you’re having financial troubles, don’t be afraid to seek help—free, confidential resources are available. Call the United Way’s helpline at 1-800-427-4626 or visit their website,

Tip of the Day 2/13/09

February 13, 2009

Get out your pens and pencils because it’s time for another this Friday the 13th edition of Tip of the Day! This video features Eric Madkins, Director of Housing and Foreclosure Intervention, for the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis and Karen Wallensak, Director of the Catholic Charities Housing Resource Center. They recommend for homeowners who are in trouble with their mortgage to seek help from trusted housing counseling agencies. To get connected to these agencies you can call the United Way’s 2-1-1 information referral service at 1-800-427-4626 or visit their website at