Jewish Free Loan Toronto (JFLT) and Hebrew Free Loan Association of Montreal (HFLA) are two organizations that enable those in need to obtain assistance through training, mentorship programs and micro-financing.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, both organizations had to rethink how they could help members of their communities. With the support of the Azrieli Foundation, both organizations found a way.
After launching its services virtually, JFLT set up a loan program that did not require guarantors or co-signatories. Loans of up to $5,000 became available to any Jewish Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Ontario.
These loans helped people like Sarah*, who was able to quickly obtain a $1,000 microloan to help pay her rent while she started a new job. They also benefitted Daniel*, a senior with only $2 in his bank account at the time, who received $1,000 to help pay his rent while waiting for his pension to arrive.
These JFLT microloans allowed more than 100 families to cover daily living expenses, medical and dental costs and emergency expenses.
In Montreal, HFLA also set up a microloan program without guarantors to help the local community. Recipients were able to access up to $3,000 to help cover their daily expenses, improve their quality of life, and achieve financial independence. Between October 2021 and September 2022, the program granted 218 loans.
One recipient who was unemployed during the pandemic used his loan to pay his rent and a portion of his credit card debt. This gave him short-term financial relief and hope and enabled him to later find employment and regain his independence.
Another family used the loan to cover the cost of their child’s bar mitzvah venue. The parents were delighted to share in this simcha with their family and close friends.
Both organizations have been promoting the Jewish value of G’milut Chasadim (acts of loving kindness) for more than 100 years in their respective communities — and we are proud to be a part of their excellent work.
* Names have been changed to protect the identity of certain individuals.