Ms. E struck me from first glance as a remarkable woman. She was dressed impeccably, had freshly manicured nails, and a demeanor of quiet strength and grace. As we began to discuss her situation, she said that she had lost her job a couple of years ago and, though she was working again, she had taken out debt to “fill in the cracks” during those lean months. She was asking for just enough help to be able to get the credit cards back into good standing so that she could become debt-free.
As we talked, she listed her income and expenses, and it was very unlikely that she would be able to afford payments on the credit cards without additional resources.
We discussed a temporary assistance plan through our state of Kentucky which can help with mortgage payments for those who have experienced a drop in income due to the economy. This program is not designed to be a hand-out, but a hand-up to let her get back on her feet. The funding would pay the mortgage for up to 12 months, freeing up the money monthly to pay back the credit cards and perhaps even establish savings.
She paused quietly, and tears began to fill her eyes. She confessed that she had been trying so hard for so long. The clothes were from consignment. Her friend did her nails for free. And she was going to call her son later in the week to ask for funds to help her make her car payment. With the help we could provide, she would not have to do that. She could continue to stand on her own and manage. No bankruptcy. No begging.
Within two weeks, she was approved for housing assistance and started our Debt Management Program. Fast forward three years and she’s back to working a better job, her debts have been paid in full, and she’s breathing easier for the first time in a long time.
I had the pleasure of talking with her this week now that her Debt Management Program just ended. She said, “You guys were wonderful and wonderful to work with. I really feel it saved me, and I’d recommend you to anyone I know.” It is one of my greatest pleasures as a financial counselor to not only provide resources for financial stability, but often also for dignity and hope.