Our entertainment industry is rife with stories of financial illness, even for some of the most popular entertainers, especially in the world of Hip-Hop. As is reflected in many national news stories, entertainers are falling victim to financial distress, making many feel that living the life (lie) described in their music and subsequently suffering long term consequences, financially. Returning from the prison system, most come out in the red and need a solution to lessen their chances of falling victim to themselves once again. Entertainment media outlets like The Hype Magazine are now supporting a new initiatives to lessen the impact prison has on the finances and credit worthiness of returning citizens.
A returning citizen’s chance of thriving upon release from prison is slim. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, 3 in 4 ex-offenders in 30 States are arrested within 5 years of release. Part of the problem is how difficult it can be for returning citizens to get back on their feet financially due to bad or insufficient credit.
A new non-profit organization, The R.A.R.E. (Restoring America through Recovery Education) and it’s NYC Freedom 500 program, is reaching out to New York State correctional institutions, pre-release facilities, prison reform programs, celebrities and non-profit organizations in hopes of helping those who are currently incarcerated, as well as returning citizens, restore their credit and achieve financial wellness.
NYC Freedom 500 is a program focused on bringing together qualified professionals to offer credit counseling to the pre and post convicted population. The organization is founded by Quincy Luzunaris, CEO of Kredit Koncepts. Kredit Koncepts is a New Jersey based credit improvement company that helps its members deal with credit improvement, debt settlement, financial planning, credit monitoring and credit education. It is one of the few accredited credit companies in the industry that has maintained an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, with zero complaints in seven years.
Luzunaris said, “Nearly 100% of men and women incarcerated suffer from bad or insufficient credit and are frequent victims of identity theft. Upon release, it is extremely difficult to attain life necessities such as, housing, loans, utilities, internet & cable services, etc., all things deemed ‘credit worthy’ in today’s society.”
NYC Freedom 500 President Jeffrey Broome agrees. “Having great credit is the foundation for creating wealth in this country. Through the Kredit Koncepts platform, we can help thousands get a second chance in changing their financial future for generations to come.” Broome said.
NYC Freedom 500 stems from the connection to each of the five boroughs in New York City. The program will provide free services to 100 returning citizens from each borough, totaling 500 returning citizens enrolled in the program. Kredit Koncepts will donate an undisclosed amount to cover the cost in order to help change the lives of these 500 returning citizens. While there is bi-partisan support in Washington that currently addresses the prison population and prison reform, one of the major issues is how to assist people in transitioning from prison life back to society. This program is one of many tools to help bridge the gap.
Jameelah “Just Jay” Wilkerson Publisher & Founder of The Hype Magazine, Inc. believes, “Recidivism is a bane of American society and is part of a circle of destruction of our family structure. Why is it so difficult for returning citizens to become positive and productive components of society? Resources and tools such as the NYC Freedom 500 pre-release program, can ease the burden on the returning citizen and collectively, the societies/communities to which they return.”
The Hype Magazine and its “Hype Cares” programs will support the NYC Freedom 500 program via featured editorial coverage for the major planners and supporters of this initiative. There is no stronger testament to Americans taking care of Americans than showing how we as a society focus our energies on major issues like economic stability for those less likely to understand how to do it alone.
The first group of 100 enrollments will come from the Kenneth P. Thompson administration and the Brooklyn District Attorney Office Re-entry Programs, the K.C.R.T.F. (Kings County Re-Entry Task Force) and “ComALERT (Community and Law Enforcement).
NYC Freedom 500 and K.C.R.T.F began accepting enrollments in December 2015. Weekly credit counseling sessions are being held on the 3rd floor of the Municipal Building at 210 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11201. Learn more about the NYC Freedom 500 program via their official website.