Community partners are essential to the work of HFLA of Northeast Ohio. We rely on our relationships with community partners because they know their communities best. Partners help make client referrals and help spread the word about our interest-free loan products. 

This resource page is set up to provide you with the information you need to better understand the work of HFLA of Northeast Ohio. Here you’ll find information that will help you better understand how interest-free loans can support the individuals you serve and to provide educational resources about our lending. 

While this page is available to answer some of your questions, it is not a replacement for our knowledgeable staff. Please do not hesitate to reach out: send us an email, or call us on the phone. We are anxious to connect with you and build a relationship that can provide resources that our community members need together.

Download the Partner Agency Resource Kit

Schedule a Presentation

Do you want an HFLA representative to come speak to your clients, staff members, or at a community event? Let us know! We are here to help facilitate educational sessions for a variety of audiences.

Request a Presentation

Questions? Ask us!

Have a question about our loan products, making a referral, or sharing our resources with the community? Reach out! We also encourage you to check out the FAQs at the bottom of the page.

Ask Us a Question

HFLA Loan Types

Standard Loan

Standard Loans address unexpected financial challenges that people who are unable to access traditional financing face. These situations can include emergency home and car repairs, high-interest debt consolidation, funeral costs, car purchase, credit building and repair, and more.

Download the Application
Education Loan

Education Loans address the gap between tuition and financial aid that is often needed in order to pursue educational goals. This burden often comes between the student attending or finishing their education. Education Loans can be used for undergraduate school, graduate school, vocational training, coding programs, Jewish Identity trips, and more.

Download the Application
Business Loan

Business Loans provide small businesses and start-ups much needed capital when traditional lenders are unwilling to take on the risk. HFLA’s 0% interest loans enable businesses to meet demand and grow their company. Business loans are able to accompany existing financing and can be used for a variety of purposes including, building purchase or renovation, order fulfillment, start-up capital, and more.

Download the Application

Loan FAQs

HFLA of Northeast Ohio looks at each application as a unique application. Every person/family has different income, and also has different expenses. A potential borrower is required to submit a monthly budget. From there, our programmatic staff are able to verify the applicant’s income and to see that the applicant has the ability to afford regular monthly payments in addition to their other monthly expenses. If you have concerns about income eligibility, please call the office at 216-378-9042 or email us at

As a nonprofit lender, HFLA does not make money by charging interest or other fees on our loans. We rely on our loans being repaid so that we can continue lending to those who need.

Guarantors and cosigners are the one form of “backup” in the unlikely event that a borrower defaults on a loan. HFLA is grateful for our guarantors and cosigners, who have ensured loan repayment if/when something prohibits the borrower from completing payment on their loan.

It typically takes 10-15 business days to process a complete application. However, this process may take longer if an application is turned in without complete information or supporting documentation.

Business loan requests are more extensive and typically take twice as long, 20-30 business days.

All HFLA loans are considered individually, on a case-by-case basis. We assess the need of the applicant, how the loan would make a positive impact in their life, and their ability to successfully repay the loan. In determining this, we look closely at the applicant’s overall financial situation–not just a credit score. Through exploring a person’s credit history, along with the individual, we are able to determine whether they are ready for a loan and in a situation where they are able to take on more debt.

We want our loans to benefit an individual and not cause them setbacks on their financial journey. While money may always seem like the answer to a problem, our interest-free loans require repayment. If the individual is unable to repay the loan we have added yet another financial burden to their situation.

HFLA’s mission is to promote economic self-sufficiency. We seek to help our loan recipients better their financial position by improving their credit. Increased credit and positive repayment history can open the door to conventional financial resources in the future.

HFLA reports loan payments on all loans to all three major credit bureaus. HFLA loan terms are developed with the borrower’s financial situation in mind. We establish flexible repayment schedules with payments that fit the loan recipient’s budget and ability to repay.

HFLA’s Standard Loans are used for many general and emergency needs. Some examples of uses for the standard loan are:

  1. Necessary home repair (not remodels or renovations)
  2. Car purchase or car repair
  3. Funeral expenses
  4. Emergency moving costs (often seen in situations of abuse or divorce)
  5. Debt consolidation

Since the standard loan is very flexible, we are able to consider many requests. However, loan decisions will be made on a needs basis only.

There are a few minimum qualifications for all HFLA loans. If the applicant does not fit all 4 of these requirements, we cannot consider them for an interest-free loan.

  1. The individual must be a resident of Northeast Ohio (Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Mahoning, Medina, Portage, Summit and Trumbull counties).
  2. The individual must have an income and demonstrate their ability to repay the loan.
  3. The applicant must apply with a guarantor or co-signer (for standard and education loans only). In certain cases the guarantor may be waived.
  4. The applicant must be unable to access a conventional bank or credit union loan with reasonable interest rates.

Other general qualifications can be found on the loan type webpages. 

Standard Loan

Education Loan

Business Loan

We work closely with financial counselors and coaches and connect potential and current borrowers to their service to ensure that the loan recipient is considering steps to improving their overall financial position.

While financial coaching is not required for all loan types, it is required for the credit building loan, and may be required for other loans when we determine that additional support is necessary for the applicant.

All supporting documents are listed on the first page of each application, and vary by loan type. All applicants are required to provide basic financial information including bank statements and tax forms as well as provide a monthly budget of income and expenses. These documents are used to assess whether or not an HFLA loan is the best path for a potential borrower.

Loan applications can be found on the respective loan page:

Standard Loan

Education Loan

Business Loan

The maximum loan terms are usually 36 months (3 years). Loan periods are dependent on the total amount borrowed and type of loan.