FAQs

General

Is Clarifi a 501(c)(3) nonprofit community organization?

Yes, Clarifi is registered as a 501 c (3).

How does Clarifi measure impact?

We measure the outcomes of all counseling and educational clients and use this data to improve our programs and services and drive overarching agency initiatives to correspond to our clients’ needs. Our in-house Program Evaluation & Technology team is dedicated to creating, administering, and analyzing outcomes measurement instruments in order to optimize our program offerings to our clients.

How many employees work for Clarifi?

Clarifi employs over 55 employees in 11 counties, including the 5-county Greater Philadelphia area, 5 counties in southern New Jersey, and New Castle County, Delaware.

Who is the Executive Director or President for Clarifi?

Since 1988, Patricia Hasson has been President and Executive Director for Clarifi.  Read more about Patty in her bio.

How many people does Clarifi serve?

Since 1966, we have worked with over 650,000 local residents and continue to innovate by adding programs and services based on community need.

What is the organization’s mission?

We create hope by helping people identify and secure the most important assets in their lives.

What languages do you provide services in?

English and Spanish

What geographical areas do you serve?

 

Clarifi serves the greater Philadelphia Metropolitan area with over 20 locations in northeast PA, South Jersey and Delaware. Visit clarifi.org/location for our office locations by county.

Where are your offices located?

Visit www.clarifi.org/locations for our current locations.

Is Clarifi affiliated with a national organization that regulates their practice?

Yes, Clarifi is member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) and accredited by the Council on Accreditation.

What delivery options are available for counseling?

In person, phone, and immediate.

Restore, Repair, Renew

I submitted documents to Clarifi and now the bank is asking for more, why?

The items needed to determine if you can be pre-approved for a loan are different, though a few overlap, than what Clarifi needs to determine pre-eligibility.

My house needs more repairs than my pre-approved loan amount can cover.

Clarifi can work with you to identify other programs or grants that can leverage your loan dollars.  Clarifi can also work with you to determine which projects are a priority for the health of your home as well the occupants.

What is the Home Assessment?

Clarifi will send out a home assessor to go though your home and look for and document minimum housing standards set for the program. The assessor will also list and note repairs or changes that you want. You will receive a copy of this report and Clarifi will walk through it with you to ensure you understand your home needs.

How do I know how many contractors I need, and what type?

If you are unsure of which contractors to call, a Clarifi team member can help you identify which types of contractors to call for which home repairs. 

What are the program's Minimum Home Quality Standards?

Minimum Home Quality Standards means your home is safe, warm and dry (they are specific but general):

  • DRY: your roof and walls are free of holes that let in rain, moisture, or pests; your plumbing is free of leaks
  • WARM: your windows can open and close securely, your furnace and water heater work
  • SAFE: your exterior doors lock, your lights turn on, your stairs and floors are free of trip hazards, there are no structural issues that are dangerous, your home is free of a pest infestation, your air and water are not contaminated, and you have smoke detectors on each floor.
What do I need to tell contractors?

They will need to submit a written itemized estimate that include a 10% contingency; a maximum of 30% deposit.  Be prepared to submit a certificate of insurance, have City of State licensure and that all projects need to end at approximately the same time.

Where do contractors for the program come from?

You can use contractor(s) you are familiar with so long as they have the required licensure.  Clarifi also maintains a list of contractors who have asked us to share their information with people looking for repairs through the Restore Repair Renew Program, and we can share that list with you.

What is the difference between Pre-Eligibility, Eligibility and Pre-Qualified?

Clarifi is responsible for determining eligibility for Restore Repair Renew. There are a few items we cannot access but the lenders can for instance, access a Title Report, thus we say you are Pre-Eligible. The Lender will determine final Eligibility for the Program.  The Lender also determines “lendability” and thus Pre-Qualification for the loan.

I have been told I have met pre-eligibility with Clarifi, but now the lender is saying I have too much debt.

One of Clarifi's financial counselors can help you plan and manage your debt to become eligible for the program. We have financial health and wellness programs and coaching that can get your debt-to-income ratio on track for the program.

My home's deed/title is not in my name or lists the name of a deceased relative, or a person who is does not live in the house as a primary residence.

If we are not able to help you in-house with our knowledge of these issues, Clarifi can help direct you to resources.

I need repairs done, but was planning on buying things on my credit card for the house too; will that affect my ability to get this loan?

It may – it depends on a number of factors like credit score, debt to income ratios and credit utilization; Clarifi can help you sort out how to best manage your credit to ensure it does not jeopardize your loan.

I was pre-approved, but my lender denied me because of my title. Why?

Your lender can issue a conditional loan pre-approval prior to a detailed title review. Often the issue that comes up after a conditional pre-approval on a title is one that Clarifi can help you resolve so your loan can move forward.

Programs

Do you offer any financial coaching programs?

Personal coaching is a part of our intensive six-month Boot Camp program combined with education workshops and counseling. Learn more here and see when the next Boot Camp starts.

Do you offer financial education for the workplace?

We offer programmatic packages with a wide variety of businesses, and community organizations large and small. Visit clarif.org/collaborate for more information.

Avoid Foreclosure

After I submit an application for mortgage assistance with a counselor's help, what should I do?

Make sure to respond to any contact from your counselor or lender. It is still your home, so be proactive in following up with your lender on the status of any application.

What should I do if I fall behind on my mortgage, or will fall behind in the foreseeable future due to a change in income?

Don’t delay, call Clarifi to understand your options early.

Manage Home

How will you help you me with housing delinquency?

When you meet with a housing counselor they will take a holistic look at your circumstance to determine what options might be available to meet your housing needs.

I have received documents from attorneys, my lender or a sheriff deputy and I don’t understand my next steps

Read the documents carefully, know that they are often time sensitive and call Clarifi if you are unsure of what to do.

Donate

How can I donate to Clarifi?

You can make a donation by check payable to Clarifi, online at www.clarifi.org or through the United Way. Clarifi’s United Way Donor Choice Number is 4800. Clarifi also accepts donations of stock, bequeaths and other planned giving mechanisms.

Why should I donate to Clarifi?

Clarifi has a unique place in our community; it’s dedicated to not only meeting people when they’re in crisis, but also preventing future problems. For many people, we’re their first line of defense against foreclosure, homelessness, and poverty. In addition, through financial literacy, we’re empowering individuals all around the Delaware Valley to build stronger, more stable communities.

How is Clarifi funded?

Clarifi has a diverse funding base which consists of a mix of grants from private and corporation foundations, government contracts for much of its foreclosure prevention and home buyer education work, funding through partnerships and modest fees from clients.

Education

Does the agency provide educational classes or workshops?

Clarifi delivers education workshops and programs as a part of their services.

Can you customize workshops?

Yes, we will customize any workshop to meet the needs of your audience; an additional fee would be incurred for this service.

How long are your workshops?

Depending on content, they run anywhere from 60 minutes to 2 hours in length for one session.

Which workshop topics are available?

Clarifi offers a number of educational topics that we can bring to your site. Check out our workshops and events page. 

Financial Counseling

How are your counselors certified?

Certified means that the counselor has passed a rigorous battery of tests measuring their financial knowledge.

Financial Wellness

Can Clarifi help me learn the basics of investing?

Yes, our certified Chartered Retirement Planning Counselors can help you create a path to retirement with both short-term needs and long-term goals in mind.  

I missed the enrollment period to enroll in health coverage through the Marketplace. Do I have any options?

You may be eligible to enroll in health coverage during the Special Enrollment Period if you or someone in your household experienced one of the following:

  • Got married
  • Had a change in household size due to separation, divorce or death, and lost health insurance as a result
  • Had a change in residence
  • Lost health insurance
  • Turned 26 and we no longer eligible to be on your parents' healthcare plan
  • Became a U.S. citizen

Learn More

Improve Credit

How can I dispute an error on my credit report?

Send your letter by certified mail, “return receipt requested,” so you can document what the credit reporting company received. Keep copies of your dispute letter and enclosures. Credit reporting companies must investigate the items in question — usually within 30 days

What effect can an error have on your credit report?

Account-related and derogatory mark errors could affect your credit score, which could then affect whether you'll qualify for a financial product such as a credit card or loan and what terms you can get. Personal information errors typically don't affect your credit score, but they could alert you to a reporting issue -- or even fraud.

Why is credit so important?

Your credit history and score is one of your most important parts of your financial life. Your credit score follows you forever and it will play a huge role in many major financial situations throughout your life.

What is a credit score?

A credit score is a numerical expression based on a level analysis of your  credit files, to represent your creditworthiness .  A credit score is used by a lender to help determine whether a person qualifies for a particular credit card, loan, or service.

What is a good credit score?

While different lenders have their own standards for rating credit scores, 700 and higher (on a scale of 300 to 850) is generally considered good.

How can I establish credit?

Get credit for the rent you pay. If you're building your credit score from scratch, you'll likely need to start with a secured credit card.

What is a secured credit card?

A secured card is backed by a cash deposit you make upfront; the deposit amount is usually the same as your credit limit.

How often do credit scores change?

Your credit score changes as your credit report changes. Therefore, it can change often since new information is added to your credit report all the time

What information goes into calculating a credit score?

Credit scores use information from three key areas of your credit report: account information (such as credit cards, auto loans, student loans, mortgages and rent), public records (such as tax liens or bankruptcies) and inquiries (requests by lenders to view your credit). Information such as race, gender, where you live and marital status are not used in credit scores

Reduce Debt

How will I know that my debt management plan is working?

Our debt reduction services include monthly progress reports that show how you have reduced your credit card debt. We encourage you to provide us with regular statements from your creditors so we can keep your personal debt management plan on track and reduce your credit card debt in the shortest possible amount of time.

What is the difference between debt management, debt settlement, and debt consolidation?

For a full explanation of the differences, please view our Comparing Debt Solutions page.

How long does a debt management program take?

Usually a debt management program allows you to pay off your debt in five years.

Does it matter how much debt I have?

Not necessarily. You may owe just a few thousand dollars, or you may owe a great deal more. Our credit counselors will work with you to determine if you are eligible for a debt management plan.

What does Clarifi do for me in a debt management program?

First, we establish a workable budget and monthly payment amount. Then, we negotiate with your creditors on your behalf to lower payments, stop collection action, and reduce or eliminate late fees. Finally, we disburse your monthly payment in a timely manner to your creditors.

What is a debt management plan?

A Debt Management Plan or Program, also known as debt repayment or debt reduction, enables you to engage in systematic, manageable debt repayment. In a debt management program, your overall debt is not lowered—you will pay the full amount owed to your creditors. However, you will be able to make that full debt repayment in a shortened timeframe (usually within 5 years).

Volunteer

Do you have any volunteer opportunities outside of Philadelphia?

Yes, we have various types of opportunities throughout our service area. If you are interested in volunteering your time, please email volunteer@clarifi.org.