Ana is a single mother of three girls ages 16, 12 and 7. She had bravely left an abusive relationship and moved to a domestic violence shelter. While in the relationship she had accumulated $8,000 in credit card debt and wanted to reduce that as much and as soon as possible.
Ana approached a local bank for a debt consolidation loan, but they were unable to approve her application. Fortunately, her banker had learned about the Level Up program during a United Way Workplace Campaign presentation and told Ana about the program.
United Way met her where she was.
Debt was only one of Ana’s challenges. Although she had a steady job in a local hospital, she needed a plan to get out of debt and find permanent housing.
United Way is her accountability partner.
The Level Up Family Career Navigator, Talisa Rogers-Hall, encouraged Ana to listen to financial podcasts from Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman. Talisa suggested using the snowball technique to pay off high interest/low balance credit cards first. As Ana paid off each balance she applied that payment to the next credit card. Finally, Ana was able to paid off the last of her debt using her income tax refund and then she began budgeting, which she had never learned how to do before.
United Way is her advocate.
With her debt clear, Ana and her daughters could move on to their next goal, find a stable place to live. Ana had been working with a local homeless prevention organization to find affordable housing in East Chicago. Due to communication issues, Ana was in danger of losing a housing voucher. She was frustrated and downhearted. Without United Way staff advocating on her behalf, Ana would have given up, but instead the process moved forward to find her family the housing they needed.
United Way connects her to resources.
Encouraged by her program success and inspired by other participants, Ana’s next goals are to save enough for a home down payment and find a better paying job. During a Level Up monthly meeting, we invited Northwest Indiana Community Action representatives to talk about Individual Development Account program. IDA’s match a person’s savings $3 to $1 up to $6,000. Ana enrolled and she participated in home ownership classes. Using WorkOne financial support to pay for a medical coding class, Ana is on track to earn a higher wage.
Your help for residents like Ana, who don’t know where to turn for help, is imperative to building a stronger, more stable community for all.