On Thursday, October 29, 2015, HOC celebrated the achievements of 39 people. They successfully completed the Family Self-Sufficiency Program, a five-year program, which provides residents an opportunity to change their lives by setting and achieving economic, career and homeownership goals. Each resident works with a mentor to help guide them along their journey.
The 2015 graduates have been employed continuously for at least 12 months and have doubled their average earned income. Since HOC began the FSS Program in 1993, 875 residents have graduated, 140 of whom have purchased homes.
All of these graduates faced hardship and obstacles along the way; however, they never gave up. As a consequence of their determination and hard work, these graduates achieved financial independence and accomplished long term goals. I want to share with you the success story of one of this year’s graduates: Ms. Jennifer Harris.
“I have been a participant since 2011. When I entered the program I set some goals for myself to reach by the time I completed the program (2015). The goals I set were to obtain employment that is stable, had great benefits and great incentives with yearly raises. I also set a goal to graduate college with a degree in nursing and to become a home owner.
When I entered the program as a single mother with one child, my annual income was less than $15,000 as a part-time Medical Assistant. I was not enrolled in college and I had no plans to become a home owner. At that time I was content with working a minimum wage job, not expanding my education beyond high school, being a resident of the Housing Choice Voucher program and receiving public assistance. I was introduced to the FSS program by Raquel Mitchell who is a wonderful, helpful and encouraging person. I was determined to change things in my life.
I am currently employed as a full time Clinical Administrative Coordinator of Neurosurgery at Medical Faculty Associates with extraordinary benefits, annual raises, two bonuses a year and a salary of $50,000. I am making $35,000 dollars more than I was when I first entered the FSS program. I am also finishing my last year in nursing school where I will become a registered nurse by summer 2016. This will open more doors and provide job security for my future.
Additionally, with the support and encouragement of the medical doctors from my previous job at Shady Grove Facility, I started my own in-home nursing business. I was told I have excellent bedside manners and I am very patient with clients. With their guidance, I have now established my business providing in-home medical care for patients discharged from medical facilities. I am very excited to be able to use my skills to help others.
The funds I accumulated in my escrow account over the past few years will be put in a CD at my current bank until I am ready to purchase a home by early next year. In 2016, I will graduate from college as a registered nurse and move to a new position within my company and start the process of purchasing a home as a new first time buyer. I have truly been blessed to be a part of the FSS program and would recommend it to anyone.”
Ms. Harris is an excellent example of how FSS is changing lives and inspiring people to achieve their dreams. I’m excited to see what the future holds for Ms. Harris and her family.
If you’d like more information on the FSS Program, please visit HOC’s website or click here.