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It was just over three years ago when Vilmarys first walked through the doors at the Compass office in Lynn, Massachusetts. She had heard about Compass at the public housing development where she lived with her two young daughters.

"When I came to Compass, I was living in low-income housing and I didn't want to stay there, I didn't want to raise my kids there," she recalls. "I wanted to have our own space, to be in a better neighborhood. I wanted to be able to move forward. I wanted my own house."

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With that goal in mind, Vilmarys first set to work to rebuild her credit. With the help of her Compass financial coach, she was able to settle her collection accounts and start repairing her credit. She also built her savings - learning ways to free up part of the modest income from her job as a family advocate at a local Head Start program and save it towards a down payment.

"I'd seen other programs that told me they would help me with the house, then when I went they told me you can't do this, you don't make the selection criteria," says Vilmarys. "Compass was different. I could see they were serious. They guided me, they helped me, they went through the process with me. They cared about me."

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In May of 2014, Vilmarys got the keys to her own home. And now that she has reached that goal, she is setting new ones: she is planning on going back to school to earn her degree and increase her income, and she will soon receive a license to run an in-home daycare.

And that December, Vilmarys and her children celebrated their first holidays together in their new home - a home of their own.


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