George came to Cottages of Hope in August 2016 after hearing about us through the VITA tax program. At the time he was working for a temp agency on a production line. He was living at the V.A. homeless shelter and was wanting to become independent after his recent release from incarceration.
He was unbanked, had almost $20,000 in student loan debt, and had no established credit score. He did not have his own vehicle, wanted to find stable employment, and had dreams of purchasing his own home.
When he first began meeting with his financial coach, we encouraged him to set up a checking and savings account and to establish a savings plan to purchase a car. He also opened a secured credit card to start building his credit score. With some negotiation and time, George and his coach were able to negotiate affordable loan payments to get his student loans out of collections.
In September 2016, George accepted a full-time position with his employer and no longer is on the production line. He received a $4/hr raise, health insurance, and 401K. A short two months later, he purchased a reliable vehicle with cash he had been saving in his car fund we helped him establish.
In the year he has been working with his financial coach, he went from having no credit to having a score of 718. In May 2017, George proudly purchased his home and moved out of the V.A.
We are very proud of George and all his accomplishments over the last year. Despite his barriers, he persevered and made success happen!
What an amazing success! Whether your goals are to buy a vehicle, purchase your first home, or go on a family vacation, they can be achieved through hard work, dedication, and planning! LF is living proof that it is possible.
LF, a single mom with four kids, began meeting with one of our financial coaches in December 2015. Her credit score was a 619 and she had over $5,500 in credit card debt. Contributing to a savings account was out of the question. She desperately wanted to take her family to North Carolina but knew it would not be possible until her finances were in order.
LF had her taxes done for free through the VITA program at Cottages of Hope and received a $7,700 refund. She initially wanted to use the money to go to North Carolina, but ultimately decided to use the refund to improve her financial situation instead.
LF decided to use $4,200 of her refund to pay off a large part of her credit card debt and put $1,800 into an established emergency savings account.
In January 2017, LF was completely free from credit card debt. She was able to keep $1,000 in savings for the entire 2016 year, she helped her daughter buy her first car, and she paid for Christmas without using any credit cards. Her credit score also climbed to a 725!
When LF filed her 2017 taxes, she received a $9,400 refund. This was LF’s chance to bump up her savings and plan her family trip. She put $2,900 in her emergency savings account, $2,000 into an established account for a down payment on a reliable car, and used the remaining $4,500 to take her and her four children to see their family in North Carolina.
KB is a single mom of three children. In February we helped her file her 2016 taxes, which resulted in a refund of $8,450! After meeting with one of our financial coaches, they established a refund plan and went to work.
KB put over $5,000 into a dedicated emergency savings that will help her remain current on bills and stay out of debt. She used the remaining $3,400 for much needed new clothes, bed sets, and other items for her children. She was also able to finally repair her car.
Great plan KB!