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Credit Advice Group Opens Valley Branch

Finance: Service that helps consumers get out of debt expands into Woodland Hills.

July 04, 2001|ERIN PARK | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Offering easier access to credit counseling for Valley residents, the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Los Angeles opened a branch office in Woodland Hills on Tuesday.

The nonprofit organization opened its new office at 21241-3 Ventura Blvd., Suite 153, to help ease the heavy traffic at its Granada Hills branch.

With 17 offices in Los Angeles County, the agency serves about 15,000 clients through its debt repayment program, spokeswoman Jennifer Root said.

"Lately, with the economy on the downturn, more people have been relying on false sources of income," she said. "Consumer debt [nationwide] is at a 10-year high."

Established in 1966, the organization helps people prevent and solve money management problems through confidential, low-cost counseling and free workshops.

"People from all income ranges find themselves in debt--the more you make, the more you spend," Root said. "A lot of people aren't sure where to turn or what to do about it."

Last year, the average client was 38, had an annual household income of $32,329 and was $18,192 in debt, not including a mortgage.

The organization, approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, also teaches home buyers about pre-purchase decisions and default prevention, and offers counseling for homeowners facing default or foreclosure.

The Woodland Hills office, open from noon to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, offers services in English and Spanish. For more information, call (800) 750-2227.

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