The key focus of the HomeStretch mission is financial education, specifically helping our residents reduce debt and improve income. As part of the program, families can get a jumpstart on paying down debt through a special matching program funded by the United Way Rapid Transition to Permanent Housing/HomeStretch Award Program. Residents apply for a match of up to $1,500 to repay debts that create a barrier to securing permanent housing. By decreasing housing debt, a family leaves HomeStretch with one less hurdle on the path toward stable housing.
The following stories show the success made possible with this generous award:
Ellen relocated to Atlanta to assist with an aging mother. Her mother’s illness required time and money that compromised family financial stability as well as Ellen’s job stability. Though she had a good job, she was spending every dime. Since coming to HomeStretch, Ellen realizes the danger of overspending, not budgeting, and not saving. After paying off over $3,000 in debt, she was approved for the Rapid Transition to Permanent Housing matching program. She used this award to pay the remaining balance. With guidance from her Budget Mentor and Case Manager, Ellen changed her lifestyle, began working harder, and focused on paying debt. For Ellen, the future looks bright.
Ann was fleeing domestic violence when she applied to HomeStretch. Once in our program, she negotiated with her creditors and reduced over $3,000 in debt to $1,800, all of which she has paid off. The debt matching program then awarded Ann $900 for additional debt reduction. Simultaneously, she increased her wages from $15 an hour to $16 an hour. Ann currently does not own her own car. When asked about her transportation goals, Ann said, “I need to get all of my current debt cleared up before I invest in a car.” Ann is making very thoughtful decision about how to budget her money.
This spring, HomeStretch will provide over $10,000 in matching funds thanks to the award from the United Way. We know that every dollar in debt repayment brings our families closer to stability. Thank you, United Way!