Clara, a 59 year-old divorced female who had worked all of her life, until an injury she couldn’t recover from caused her to become disabled. She had always earned a modest income due to being a stay at home mom to raise her family which resulted in low monthly disability benefits. $1108. Her children were adults and living their lives with their own struggles and she had no spouse to help support her. She was making do the best she could, struggling with high medical cost and barely able to cover her living expenses. She came to Family Guidance Center after calling HUD (we are a HUD-approved Housing Counseling Agency) about her landlord not making repairs to the old house she was renting for $600 a month. She was living with no AC and no hot water. Our Certified Housing Counselor was able to educate her on Fair Housing Laws, in particular Landlord/Tenant rights & responsibilities. The counselor was able to advocate for her and even assist the landlord with resources to bring the home up to standard by connecting him to USDA resources. During the initial assessment of her budget, which is part of all counseling services, the counselor was able to point out that she was eligible for a part of Medicaid that would pay her Medicare premium and increase her monthly income by $138 (12.5%). She was educated on how to easily increase her credit score and refinance her car note at a local Credit Union that cut her car expenses in half. She was referred to several community resources, like the Low Income Energy Assistance Program, Spectrum Discount Program for $14.99 internet for low-income households, FCC’s Lifeline program for phone service for $9. Blue Ridge Community Action for an employment program for older persons to learn new skills, potentially increasing her income $672 a month, affordable housing opportunities for her to apply for to reduce her cost of housing to 30% of her income. This resulted in a monthly income of $1918, a housing cost of $374, and a reduction of 65% in other living costs. Now Clara enjoys a stress-free life. She is engaged in volunteering in the community through referrals to other UW partner agencies. Her adult children all sought financial services from us to stabilize their financial future. One of them became a homeowner this year as a result of our counseling & education.
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