Climbing the Mountain

March 27, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

In June of 2008 CLCLT homeowner, Shauntina Beatty, began working for Urban Homeworks (UHW). At the time, Shauntina was renting from a neglectful landlord that was not providing basic needs, such as water or a working refrigerator. With a baby on the way, she knew it was time to move and was able to rent from UHW while also pursuing her interest in homeownership.

Shauntina began to work with Build Wealth Minnesota (BWMN), a credit counseling agency where she was able to take a look at her credit report and identify the place to start. After understanding what needed to be done, Shauntina was on the path to homeownership through Project: Reclaim which is a partnership between UHW, CLCLT, Build Wealth Minnesota and Lutheran Social Services. Project: Reclaim facilitates successful homeownership through a contract-for-deed program where families agree to an action plan to address credit enhancement in order to improve their stability and become able to conventionally finance a home.

By the time Shauntina closed on her home in May of 2011 she had already taken several important steps to improve her credit report. After closing though, Shauntina admits she lost momentum for about 6 months. She acknowledges it was difficult to change habits and work on her credit but says, “I knew I had to get back on track. When I start something I want to make progress and complete it.” She worked with BWMN to call creditors and start installment plans to get her larger credit items cleared from her report and also worked to pay off smaller items.

Shauntina was working her way through the BWMN program which begins with 6 weeks of classes where participants learn about financial literacy, what credit means, and how it can hurt you while also giving a real life perspective. She was assigned a coach who taught her to budget and to change her focus. “There were tears and it was hard,” said Shauntina, “He would say do you want new shoes for your son or do you want to save money for him to go to college.” She met with her coach weekly and he helped her to save money and stay on her budget.

After 6 months Shauntina started to see her scores improve and within a year and a half Shauntina was able to convert to a conventional mortgage. The hardest part she said was the day to day life of budgeting and saving but she learned that the decisions were up to her and she had the power. “It felt so good to have everything paid off and to be proud of yourself,” said Shauntina, “It feels great to show others families you can do this, just start climbing that mountain little by little.” Now she says her son loves the house, she loves it, and their neighbors are great!

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