‘Here is the hope’: Spokane Valley Church raises $ 300,000 to pay off millions in medical debts for those in need

A Spokane Valley church holiday fundraiser raised just over $ 300,000 to alleviate millions of dollars in medical debt owed by families in need in the Northwest.

Valley Real Life’s efforts will result in the potential repayment of $ 30 million in debt through the church’s partnership with RIP Medical Debt, a New York-based nonprofit that will leverage the proceeds of the purchase. , then cancellation, of the eligible debt portfolios.

RIP Medical Debt, which works in partnership with TransUnion, goes to the secondary debt market to buy pooled portfolios of bad debt for pennies on the dollar. These wallets have traded hands multiple times between different collection agencies over the course of months or years of collection attempts, depending on the nonprofit.

“To more than double what we did last year in a really tough season, I think it really reflects what God is doing in people’s hearts,” Steve Allen, Valley Real Life outreach pastor said Friday. , “and I think that also reflects what’s going on in the church culture and the community culture of people who just want to take care of each other.

Eligible debtors are those earning less than twice the federal poverty line, those experiencing financial hardship (with out-of-pocket expenses that make up 5% or more of their annual income), and those with debts greater than their assets.

With the Valley Real Life product, RIP’s medical debt relief will focus on the Spokane area first and expand from there, Allen said. A spokesperson for RIP Medical Debt said the nonprofit is targeting debt relief for families in Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, California, Nevada and from Utah.

The funds will be used for the association’s next purchase, which will likely close in early March, the spokesperson said. Letters informing families of relief would then be sent in late March or early April.

During a campaign period from December 1 to January 15, Valley Real Life’s sixth annual Joy to the World fundraiser had an initial goal of $ 200,000. Total donations reached $ 210,000 at the end of December.

“People have been so generous with their finances, but we’ve also seen that they’ve also been so generous with their time and talents,” Allen said. “We are only excited about the community of Spokane Valley – only the repercussions that are happening in schools, business communities and families in the way they are helping families get through this season (COVID-19) in anticipation of the next season. will look like.

Inspired by Valley Real Life, another church in the area will likely continue fundraising later this year through RIP Medical Debt.

Lakes Community Church in Newman Lake is considering medical debt relief as a mission for the church’s upcoming Easter fundraiser, church representative Roy Abshire said.

With a congregation smaller than Valley Real Life, Abshire said Lakes Community Church’s initial goal would be $ 10,000 for potentially $ 1 million in debt relief.

“I think this is an extremely valid cause. Medical debt can crush people’s lives. It’s an opportunity to reach out to the community in a very supportive way, ”said Abshire. “It’s like touching people when they are at the hopeless stage. Well, here’s the hope.

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