A Special Florida Woman Helps Many Get on Track to Homeownership

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Lupe Julius is a special woman. She has taught and inspired -- and perhaps even cajoled -- many people on how to break the circle of poverty that often ensnares them, including 28 women in South Florida who once were on welfare but who now call themselves "homeowners."

[Photo 1: Lupe Julius]
Lupe Julius has found her niche in helping others break the circle of poverty.

Lupe is a bilingual case manager working with Palm Beach County in Florida�the only bilingual case manager, to be more exact. As such, she often starts her day at 6:00 a.m. and ends it after 10:00 p.m. She also often has more than 100 cases she is following on a monthly basis, referred to her by the local housing authority and other agencies. This caseload means meeting her clients anywhere at any time and becoming more than a budget counselor to them.

Tiandra Montgomery, Patricia Duncan and Cynthia Hodge are three of those 28 women, and living proof of the success that Lupe has had. The three told their stories at a recent With Ownership Wealth homeownership fair in Riviera Beach, which was held in cooperation with the Black Caucus Foundation and the Palm Beach Collaborative, of which HUD is part. Though the three had very different experiences and backgrounds, the common thread to their success was Lupe.

"You have to make a budget!" is Lupe's mantra to all her clients. To which, "Budget what?" is often the typical response. Lupe smiles knowingly because she has been there.

Divorced and living alone in New Jersey with her three children, the California-born woman of Mexican parents pushed herself and made the right choices so that her children would have a better life. And today she is very proud of her two daughters, both of whom are professionals, and her son, who will soon graduate from high school.

Lupe began working in the home buying field in 1996 and is now certified to teach the Money Smart curriculum and other self-sufficiency courses. She recently started her own agency - Life Improvement for Tomorrow - and is now hiring her first employee who, Lupe says, will help even more clients become homeowners.

[Photo 2: Three ladies receiving certificates from their director]
Acting Miami Field Office Director Anthony Britto delivers recognition certificates to three ladies at the WOW event.
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