Discover a quick and easy guide to making sense of your credit and how it affects your life.

Discover a quick and easy
guide to making sense of your
credit and how it affects your life.

  • What is credit and how is it determined?
  • Why is good credit important?
  • What is a good credit score?

Learn the secrets of building good credit in this
FREE downloadable guide

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From mortgage applications to future jobs

your credit score impacts many of life’s most important milestones

Navigating the American financial system ultimately determines whether you can take out a mortgage or get a new credit card, and even be checked by hiring managers or potential landlords.

Here, we answer your credit questions.


A credit score may look like a simple three-digit number, but these digits can change your life, and not just financially. Your credit score is your reputation as a borrower; it shows your ability to borrow and pay back money. If you don’t have a credit score (or have a low number), you’ll have a harder time getting loans; and if you do, it will come with higher interest rates. “Good credit can open doors for you in America,” Alvarez emphasizes. “The better credit you have, the better loan you’ll get.”

Sylvia Alvarez, HEA

Behind the number itself (credit scores typically range from 300 to 850), there are many factors used to calculate credit scores. Your payment history (think making payments on time), how much money you owe, and how much of your available credit you are using is key in determining your credit score.

What good credit means for you—and your future


How to start

your credit journey

You may not be able to start or fix your credit in one night, but you can take steps to move you in the right direction. For example, you can start with a small credit card line and build from there by paying bills on time. Another way to build your credit is by getting a car loan with a car dealership you trust. Having different types of loans will help you develop your credit mix, further improving your credit score.

Building your credit is a long-term endeavor. If you don’t have a credit history, it’s hard to get a loan, a credit card or even an apartment rental. But how are you supposed to show you’re responsible for your finances if no one will give you credit in the first place? “You have to be very patient,” explains Alvarez. “There’s no quick fix.”

– Sylvia Alvarez, HEA

Building your credit can be overwhelming, but there are ways to do it and institutions willing to help you out. If you’re patient and willing to put in the work, you’ll be able to build your own version of the American Dream.

Learn more download

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What people are saying about

“We have been developing the concept of using the cemetery property to provide research and inspiration for young people because it’s important to uncover the truth in order to have a better understanding of the present. The virtual/in-person Headstones & History – hybrid class has allowed us to maintain safety protocols and hopefully create a standard for how historic Black cemeteries can be utilized to bring history to life and provide context to the classroom.”

Lisa Fager, Executive Director
Mt. Zion-Female Union Band Society Historic Memorial Park, Inc.

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Housing & Education Alliance

Housing & Education Alliance is an agency providing HUD-certified homebuyer and homeownership classes. The team’s work is tremendously important as it allows students to obtain a certificate of completion and apply for government grants (up to $30,000) to help them purchase a home.

To sign up for a HomeTrack course press here

Housing & Education Alliance’s team educates homebuyers and helps them with credit issues. What’s more, the team also guides future homebuyers through the challenging home buying process, including choosing the right realtor, lender and finding the perfect home. This prevents first home buyers from being impacted by predatory practices.

Over the years, the agency has supported countless families and individuals through many different programs, including:

Education and one-on-one counseling

Through these sessions, Housing & Education Alliance educates families and individuals on financial literacy and guides them through the homebuying process. As part of this guidance, we help clients identify and qualify for down payment assistance.

To download your free guide on credit press here

Foreclosure prevention

The organization regularly partners with other agencies and charities to organize events allowing families experiencing financial stress to meet with their mortgage lenders and find solutions to their mortgage issues.

Financial literacy

This program is designed to educate community members about financial matters in a classroom setting. Some of the main topics include setting goals, budgeting, or understanding credit rules. The idea is to teach them how to be financially responsible and independent through engaging and fun exercises.

To download your free guide on credit press here

Thanks to its bilingual support system, Housing & Education Alliance has been a significant help to the Hispanic community. Not only are staff members bilingual, but classes are also all delivered in Spanish. And to strengthen its impact, the agency works closely with UnidosUS, the largest Hispanic advocacy group. 

The work of Housing & Education Alliance allows our community to grab a piece of the American dream. Indeed, it enables many individuals and families to access decent and safe homes for their kids to grow and thrive in and provide them with a brighter future.


This page is made possible by the partnership between Housing and Education Alliance, Nuevo En US and Car Credit Tampa.

Nuevo en US is a 501 c-3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide vital assistance and information in Spanish to the immigrant community. Nuevo’s Road to the American Dream series is underwritten exclusively by Tampa-based philanthropist, Steve Cuculich, and Tampa Bay Car Credit dealerships. For more information, go to

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