CCCS Offers FREE Counseling Services & FREE Virtual Workshops for Financial Literacy Month, Starting April 1st

Call 716-712-2060 or visit 

The 1-year mark of the COVID 19 pandemic is upon us, and the impact has been heavy on people of all financial levels, particularly lower- and middle-income Americans. The toll of the damage has been vast, and the financial consequences may loom for years to come. Millions of Americans experienced unemployment and job loss for the first time, while many more have experienced hardship causing a range of economic challenges from the depletion of savings, to missing  loan payments, to housing insecurity.

April also marks Financial Literacy Month, tax season, and the receipt of the third Economic Impact (Stimulus) Payment; an excellent opportunity to review your finances, gain financial knowledge, and improve your overall financial outlook.

Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) announced today that it will offer free credit counseling services for the month of April; which will include “Financial Counseling”, “Financial Coaching”, and “Credit Report Review” sessions by phone and encourages all those concerned with their financial issues to call 712-2060 or visit A Certified Financial Counselor will address financial concerns and provide community resources and relief options that may be available for consumers struggling with mortgage, student loan, auto loan and credit card payments. In addition, a Counselor can thoroughly review an individual’s or household’s income and expenses, credit report and score, and assist in creating a sustainable household budget.

In addition, CCCS, continues to offer free virtual workshops throughout the month focused on various topics such as budgeting, credit, managing student loans, identify theft and scams, and COVID-19 related relief, resources and referrals.

Upcoming April Workshops:

  • “Keeping Your Credit and Wallet Safe” – April 13th @ 12:00 PM
  • “Making Sense of Student Loan Repayment” – April 27th @ 5:30 PM EST

In addition, CCCS offers the following recommendations and guidance regarding the most recent stimulus payments: Make a spending plan before spending any of the money to determine how it can be best utilized

  • Catch up on any past due bills – Specifically housing and utility expenses
  • Start or fund an emergency savings account – This can help with unexpected expenses right away, or in the future
  • Pay down high interest rate debt, particularly credit cards
  • Start a holiday savings account – It’s never too early
  • Invest for your future – retirement, college savings, etc.

Financial Literacy Month is celebrated throughout the U.S. every April. Congress originally created it to raise public awareness about the importance of financial education and the serious consequences associated with a lack of understanding about personal finances.

This year, CCCS is using Financial Literacy Month to encourage all Western New York residents to determine their financial weaknesses, address debt, develop a budget, increase financial capabilities and to improve their economic stability. By providing free credit counseling services during the month of April, CCCS is taking positive action to promote financial stability for individuals and families in our region.

Community members are urged to call CCCS at 712-2060 or visit Take action to get back on a path toward financial stability and security during these extraordinary times. 


We know it can be scary to reach out for support.

We want community members to know that they are not alone.

Without paychecks to cover their bills and emergency funds to fall back on, many Americans have turned to credit to stay afloat. helps community members identify their debt situation and provides helpful next steps 

Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Buffalo (CCCS) today launched a new project to help community members identify their debt challenge and to access tips, tools, and support.

Research conducted by The Ohio State University demonstrates the positive client impact of nonprofit credit counseling. However, community members with debt challenges often reach out for credit counseling when they are already struggling with collections or are facing utilities shut off or even eviction.

A better time for people to reach out is when they are making payments, but those payments are not measurably bringing down their balances. “Our counselors often hear from clients that they wished they’d come in earlier for help addressing their debt, so this project is in response to that need,” said Noelle Carter, President & CEO. “We know it can be scary to reach out for support especially if you’re already struggling with a job loss, reduced hours, medical hardship, or caring for a family member. We want community members to know that they are not alone.”

Through CCCS’ new project and newly launched website,, community members can take a fun, non-judgmental web-based quiz that helps people identify their debt situation and directs them to clear, easy next steps. CCCS wants people to know that there are tips, tools, and programs that can make a difference.

In addition to a locator to identify their local nonprofit credit counseling agency, the quiz also directs visitors to resources that can help them take the recommended next steps for their debt situation. Community members can reach out directly for help by visiting the or (716) 712-2060.

Debt is a very real problem. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Americans collectively hold $14.35 trillion in debt, increasing by $87 billion in the third quarter of 2020. While total credit card balances held by Americans have decreased $86 billion over the last two quarters combined due to weak consumer spending and some households paying down existing credit card debt, millions continue to struggle with the burden of debt in the face of time of adverse economic times. For many in our community, debt may enable homeownership or access to education. But for others, debt can quickly become difficult to manage as households experience emergencies, unexpected expenses, or shortfalls in their cash flow.

A February 24th article in Yahoo!Financedetails the results from a recently conducted GOBankingRates survey which sought to determine the average debt individuals will take on due to the coronavirus pandemic. Nationwide, about half of respondents said they expect to take on debt. However, that percentage varies greatly from state to state.

Here is the debt breakdown they discovered for New York State:

$0: 47.98%

$1-$999: 15.15%

$1,000-$4,999: 14.65%

$5,000-$9,999: 9.09%

$10,000-$19,999: 6.57%

$20,000-$49,999: 3.54%

$50,000 or more: 3.03%

Whatever type of debt—or none at all—CCCS is ready to help all WNY residents. For any interested in a free financial checkup by phone—or any type of help at all–call 712-2060 or visit A Certified Financial Counselor will help address any financial concerns and can assist in creating a budget.  CCCS urges everyone to take positive action that will promote financial stability.


Helping America Achieve a Debt Free Future!

The COVID-19 Pandemic has led to hardships for our neighbors, communities and our nation. Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) continues to focus on coaching people through personal financial struggles and placing them on a path to achieve their short term and long term financial goals.

CCCS took a pause on our expansion plans to focus on adjusting our operations to accommodate ease of efficient and effective remote work, but in 2021 we are strongly positioned to continue to expand throughout the U.S. so that we can help even more consumers who are in need of a trusted financial counseling organization. As of January, we now offer services to residents in Ohio!

More to come. If you or someone you know needs assistance with creating a plan to becoming debt free, please call 1-800-926-9685 or (716) 712-2060. 

Help Us Advocate for Increased Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Funding!

The Consumer Credit Counseling Service Niagara County Financial Literacy & Empowerment Coalition has run a VITA FREE Tax Prep Program for the past 7 years. VITA (it stands for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) helps low income individuals and families file their taxes—and access eligible tax credits, like the Earned Income Tax Credit, which ranges from $506-$6,269. It saves people hundreds of dollars in unnecessary tax preparation fees and helps them avoid refund anticipation loans and inflated filing fees.

The average cost of tax prep is around $300 and refund anticipation loans typically cost about $200 per filer. This makes the cost of filing taxes $500 or more!

This problem is compounded by the plentiful for profit tax prep companies that specifically operate in low income neighborhoods, making it so easy for people to get their taxes done…as long as they ignore the high cost. There are over 40 of these predatory companies in Niagara Falls and Lockport and sadly only a few FREE Tax Prep Programs like ours.

VITA services ensure that low income families can easily and properly access the money they are entitled to. In 2020, some VITA programs helped with accessing stimulus payments as well.

In these uncertain times, VITA should be a steady source of help for families.

We are asking you to advocate for increased VITA funding, during this pandemic and into the future.

Specifically, we are calling for full VITA funding at $30 million.

Will you please take a minute and let your members of Congress hear from you and how important VITA is to your community???

It’s really easy!!

Here is a little more info

The Senate Appropriations Committee recently released their draft 2021 funding bill, which calls for full VITA funding at $30 million! Earlier this year, the House released a $28 million VITA funding proposal for 2021. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program relies on federal funding from Congress every year, so take a moment to send our pre-drafted email below to your Members of Congress and request that they support the Senate funding proposal for VITA.

Thank you!

CCCS Seeks Volunteers: Improve the Economic Stability of Niagara County Residents

CCCS Seeks Volunteers: Improve the Economic Stability of Niagara County Residents;

Seeking Tax Preparation Volunteers

Volunteers have 27% higher odds of finding a job after being out of work than non-volunteers

Make A Difference in Your Community—while adding skills to your resume

Between the pandemic and our country’s recent social justice reckoning, the financial insecurity faced by millions of Americans is finally being seen as a systemic issue in need of reform.

An emerging movement for economic justice calls for intervention from the government, employers and nonprofit organizations. Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Niagara (CCCS) and the Niagara County Financial Literacy & Empowerment Coalition are leading the efforts in Niagara County.

And while the work is complex and will take much time, CCCS and the Coalition are beginning part of this ongoing project by announcing that they will once again hold their Free Tax Prep/Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program in Niagara County with sites in Lockport and Niagara Falls.

Volunteers will help low income individuals and families file their taxes—and access eligible tax credits–saving them hundreds of dollars in unnecessary tax preparation fees (Average cost of tax prep=$300 and tax credits, like the Earned Income Tax Credit, ranges from $506-$6,269) and avoiding refund anticipation loans and inflated filing fees (typically about $200 per filer—this makes the cost of filing taxes $500 or more!).

CCCS and the Coalition announced today that they are seeking volunteers for a few hours per week February through April 15th2021 to help with its Free Tax Prep Program. Those interested in becoming volunteers are urged to register with CCCS by contacting Robby Dunn at by November 30th.  There is no prior experience required. Volunteers will receive free training and be part of a program that helps thousands of households every year. We encourage all those who want to help the individuals and families who are hurting the most to join our team.

Consumer Credit Counseling Service Announces FREE Virtual Workshop

Consumer Credit Counseling Service Announces FREE Virtual Workshop:

Holiday Spending Hacks

November 17th at 5:00 pm EST

As we move into the Holiday season, Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) is continuing to protect the financial health of everyone.

The pandemic has caused anxiety and stress for many in the region. As the only local nonprofit that works with individuals and families to achieve financial stability, CCCS has been helping our clients access options for financial relief and providing ongoing encouragement through free financial checkups by phone and monthly Virtual Workshops. The next workshop will be:

“Holiday Spending Hacks”- November 17th at 6:00 pm.

During this 60-minute presentation CCCS will review holiday budgeting and planning techniques, as well as creative ways to save during the holiday season.

Topics Include:

·         Budgeting & planning techniques

·         Creative holiday savings ideas

·         Tips on reducing holiday expenses

·         How to plan for next year!

To Register:

As a reminder, CCCS can help people with almost all financial issues, with several helpful programs available: one-on-one financial counseling (by phone), financial coaching, creditor repayment counseling, small business counseling, pre-purchase housing counseling, foreclosure mitigation counseling and bankruptcy counseling. These services are not just for people in crisis—CCCS helps people who proactively want to take charge of their finances, creating budgets and developing spending plans so that they can live a stable and successful life free from financial stress.

For those interested in a free financial checkup by phone—or any type of help at all–call (716) 712-2060 or A Certified Financial Counselor will help address your financial concerns.  CCCS urges everyone to take positive action to promote financial stability.