When applying for Section 8 rental assistance five years ago, Elaine Matthews remembers talking about her goals and her dreams. She wanted a job and a car, and dreamed of owning a home. But the prospects were bleak for the single, unemployed mother of two living in Monroe, Louisiana, a city with a poverty rate of 25 percent. Reaching her goals and her dream was not going to be easy.
|Monroe Mayor James Mayo presents Elaine Matthews the keys to her new home as Hal Hinchliffe of Progressive Bank and Marieanne Hereford of the Monroe Housing Authority watch. |
Life improved for Elaine when she was approved for Section 8 assistance...and she followed-up on that by enrolling in the Monroe Housing Authority's Family Self-Sufficiency Program.
The FSS program is set-up to help Section 8 residents become independent and self-supporting by providing access to childcare, transportation, educational opportunities, and job training.
Within two years, she reached her first goal of finding a job shortly after earning her certified nursing assistance license.
And with a full-time job she was soon able to reach her second goal and buy a car.
Elaine chose to remain in the program, and even increased the amount of money she put into a home-buying escrow account as her income grew.
|Elaine Matthews' new home in Monroe|
And last November, thanks to the opportunities she's had and choices she's made, Elaine fulfilled her dream when she received the keys to the new three-bedroom, two-bath home she had just bought. She had saved about $9,000 as a down payment on her new home, and the FSS program, a non-profit arm of the Monroe Housing Authority, provided additional down payment and closing cost assistance using HUD funds that help low-to-moderate income families.
As Elaine can attest, goals and dreams can come true if you set them high but reachable and go for them one step at a time.