If you’re drowning in credit card debt or having trouble paying the mortgage, John Pabon wants you to walk into his Patchogue storefront unannounced.
He wants you to visit him or his staff at Debt Management Credit Counseling Corp. on Waverly Avenue — before the state suggests you do so.
“That’s one of the things we don’t do well, is advertise to the communities, who we are, what we do,” said Pabon, the New York regional manager for the nationwide nonprofit group, which is based in Florida. “People literally have to go up to the state to find out what agencies are available for them to get help, and then they contact us.
“But I want to put what we do on the front page of Newsday.”
To help spread the word, Pabon hosted a Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce event Friday at the Patchogue location, and will be attending local college campuses to educate students about debt management, among other community outreach.
The office opened in January and is funded through government grants as well as fees, though most of its services are free to clients. Even the fees are waivable for people who cannot afford them, Pabon said.
“We do everything from credit analysis to foreclosure prevention cases,” Pabon said, noting that Debt Management Credit Counseling Corp. often works with creditors to lower interest rates for their clients down to single digits.
“And if they have a hardship we can lower down their interest rates to a 1, or 2 or 3 percent,” he said. “So it’s a huge help on a monthly basis for their monthly payments. And that’s what they’re looking to get assistance on, their monthly bills.”
Top photo: Jon Pabon with Brookhaven Councilman Neil Foley outside the Debt Management Credit Counseling Corp. office at 152 Waverly Avenue in Patchogue Friday. (Credit: Michael White)