Agency helps people with credit counseling

RALEIGH One well known Triangle non-profit agency is fighting a month-long back log before callers can get their first meeting force guidance.

Triangle Family Services says it is inundated with people desperate for financial help.

A record number of people need guidance on foreclosure, bankruptcy and runaway credit card debt.

Retired Wake County school teacher Maggie Bunce juggles $41,000 in credit card debt at her kitchen table.

"It was my own fault," Bunce said. "I didn't know how to manage my own money. And now I am reaping the whirlwind."

Bunce said her debts include almost $10,000 in home repairs to help her disabled, elderly mother.

Bunce said she is unable to find a part-time job during the recession, so she turned to Triangle Family Services for credit counseling.

"Oh no, what am I going to do," Bunce said she asked herself. "That's what immediately came to mind."

Triangle Family Services has three counselors to field what's now grown to 650 people waiting for financial help.

The number began growing six months ago and continued to grow through November.

"Then it became a flood," said Rebekah O'Connell, Triangle Family Services.

O'Connell says a change in state foreclosure laws has funneled struggling homeowners to agencies like hers.

"They're already terribly worried," O'Connell said, "and I'm afraid it isn't helping to say you're on the list. But we're honest with them."

O'Connell has dozens of case files stacked in her office and hundreds more clients waiting to get in.

Despite the waiting list, Triangle Family Services still wants people to call for financial guidance.

For people who have gotten a foreclosure notice from the state commission on banks, there are other local agencies that can help you.

For a list of those agencies, click here.

Click here for a list of housing counselors by county.