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“Every morning I take my coffee on the porch, and the first thing I say is ‘Thank God’ because I can’t believe I have a home like this.”

Rosa’s dream was always to own her own home – something in a safe area, with some privacy, and neighbors she could count on and with whom she could share daily life.

It was a dream that she never thought she’d be able to make come true.

“I worked so hard. I always saved money. But I had no idea how to invest that money,” says Rosa, who first came to Compass in 2013, when she was working as an outreach coordinator for a senior services agency in Lynn, MA. At the time, she and her 17-year-old daughter were renting an apartment in Lynn, with the help of a subsidized housing voucher from the local housing authority.

Rosa’s coworker – a Compass program graduate – encouraged her to enroll in Compass’s Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program, operated in partnership with Lynn Housing Authority and Neighborhood Development, the local housing authority through which Rosa received her housing assistance. “You work so hard, Rosa,” her coworker told her, “why don’t you have your own house?”

Buying a home wasn’t simply a financial challenge for Rosa. She also remembers feeling unsure of how the process worked. “Before I came to Compass, I didn’t feel safe to buy a home, I didn’t know the procedures to do it,” Rosa reflected recently. “Compass taught me how to do it.”

FSS is typically a five year program, as the process of building financial security and working toward major financial goals is not a quick one. But for some families, like Rosa, reaching those goals can happen much faster. It took just over two years before Rosa graduated from the program, gave up her housing voucher, and moved into her own home in Lynn. With support from her Compass financial coach, she had improved her credit, paid off bills, and built savings, all in preparation to qualify for a mortgage and buy a home. 

“Now that I own my own house, I feel like I can breathe. I feel free. I feel like myself,” Rosa shared.  “When I see my house, I laugh. I feel so good when I come home and turn the key.”


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