My name is Irene and I am a participant in Compass’s Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program operated in partnership with Cambridge Housing Authority. I grew up in Cambridge in public housing and I never really saw myself having a future or a home of my own. But today, after two years in the Compass program, I have an entirely different perspective.

Before Compass, I had spent years looking for someone who could help me improve and manage my finances. I came across several companies that claimed they could help me do things like fix my credit, but they all wanted to charge a fee that was simply too high for me. What’s more, I felt like these companies were unreliable and not trustworthy.

When I learned about Compass, I was so relieved to have found a program that I felt like I could trust. I was eager to get my finances in order because I had a lot of goals that I was intent on achieving, such as fixing my credit and buying my own home.

I have worked at a major health insurance company off and on since 1998. Since joining Compass, I have opened a 401k with my company and am focused on increasing my contribution from 2% to 4%, to leverage the full match that my company offers. I have consolidated my student loans and have been paying them, and all of my other bills, on time for over a year. I am also beginning to build my own savings! Additionally, I pay close attention to my credit now and I used to run from that.

In terms of my big goals, I can see that I am making steady progress toward being able to buy a home. I look forward to having the freedom to not report my every move to someone and to having something to leave to my children and grandchildren. The biggest motivator for me is my children.

I sincerely believe that knowledge is power and I feel that my Compass coach, Shailean, has shared a wealth of financial knowledge with me. I have learned so much that I often find myself teaching friends and family members!

Ultimately, I think the biggest thing Compass has done for me was to show me that I can do anything I put my mind to. I would recommend this program to everyone. It is truly life changing.