Almost Home: Habitat's Program Teaches Families to Make Their Money Work for Them

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By Michelle Spada, Director of Family Services

HFHMC has launched a new financial literacy and life skills program called Almost Home. The goal of the program is to help families in Montgomery County achieve financial stability and maintain stable housing.

What is financial stability? It is a family’s ability to financially weather a crisis, emergency, or unplanned event without being thrown into chaos. It is having an emergency fund and 3-6 months of living expenses saved away. It is being unburdened by excessive debt or penalized for a poor credit score. Financial stability is when a family’s money works for them instead of controlling them.

Participants range from prospective home buyers, to current homeowners struggling to maintain their homes, to families looking to break out of the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle. The topics covered address the major causes of financial and housing instability, including: budgeting, cash flow, debt, credit, project management, planning for retirement, managing student loans, purchasing insurance, writing a resume, obtaining employment, and buying a home. Participants are also paired with a financial coach to review their current financial situation and create a success plan.

In HFHMC’s first session of Almost Home, held in October/November of 2015, 7 families entered the program believing that an emergency fund and 3-6 months of saved living expenses was impossible.  At the end of the 6-week program, 6 families had created an emergency fund of over $500. One family consolidated thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Another family purchased their own Habitat home!

The next session of Almost Home will be held every Tuesday and Thursday from March 29th through May 19th from 6:30-8:30pm at the OIC in Norristown. If you are interested in participating in the program, please contact Michelle at mspada@habitatmontco.org or 484-685-2042. HFHMC is also recruiting financial coaches to work one-on-one with families. Again, please contact Michelle if you are interested in this opportunity.