Financial motivation: Through a mom of three
Jacquie Baldwin of Columbia Tennessee has known the value of hard work all her life. A mom of three boys, she has persevered through all of life’s trials to provide for her children. When Ms. Baldwin discovered there was an option at her work place to enter a program designed to help families become economically self-sufficient, she was all in.
“I’ve had to work so hard all my life just to get by,” said Ms. Baldwin. “I had no help and I want to give my boys the ability to see me flourish before they grow up”.
Tennessee Housing Development Agency partnered with Ms. Baldwin’s workplace to offer their Family Self-Sufficiency Program, whose purpose is to facilitate access to the supportive services families need to become free of public assistance in a five-year time period. This program is designed to give Section 8 Housing participants a mentor with specific resources to target financial goals.
FSS begins with pairing a mentor with a mentee. Then the two must plan out meetings, homework, and presentations to receive credit for the program. In addition to gaining access to valuable supportive services, THDA establishes a savings (or escrow) account for FSS families when their earned income increases from obtaining a job or receiving a job-related promotion or raise. When a participant's income increases, their family contribution toward rent also increases. This money is placed in a "savings" account for the family which they receive upon graduation.
When asked why FSS stood out to Ms. Baldwin, she answered, “I just saw the flyer and asked if it could help me own a home. I want to create a more stable housing situation for my boys. I want them to be proud of me and have a place to come back and visit once they grow up”.
The FSS program has the ability to significantly impact a citizen’s life. “I have so much hope and excitement for the future. My next goal is to save for a down payment and purchase a home,” says Ms. Baldwin. “I am closer than ever before and I have FSS to thank for that”.