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.