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Success Story: Lena

Last year, United Way of the Lakeshore approached Goodwill to collaborate on a project called the Financial Stability Navigation and Intervention Program. The program set up a fund earmarked for job supports to assist individuals in securing and/or retaining employment called the “Barrier Resolution Fund.” The program also allowed for funding to be used toward education. Additionally, financial management supports were offered through the program, skills such as creating a budget, access to credit score and reports, as well as making sure individuals have claimed all of their tax credits they are entitled to.

Lena Elliot is a single parent with three young children. When Lena first sought out assistance from the Barrier Resolution Fund, she was working part time at a photography studio. She needed assistance with car insurance to get back and forth to work. Lena knew the importance of being financially stable but was living crisis-to-crisis based on the small amount of income she received.

During the intake process with Lena, banking, budgeting and education were emphasized as tools to help her be more successful. The car insurance down payment and first month installment were paid through the Barrier Resolution Fund.

Four months after receiving assistance, she made enormous strides toward financial stability. Lena continued to pay the insurance on her vehicle so she was able to look for different jobs. She successfully obtained a full-time position working as a kitchen aide at Muskegon Public Schools. Her new job provides her with a significant addition in her work hours. Lena now uses a debit card to pay bills, follows a monthly budget, and even has a saving account. She also continues to work on getting her GED.

Lena stated the program helped her learn the importance of education and healthy financial practices for the future. The program helped Lena with her overall financial stability and directly assisted her retain employment and gain better employment. Things are still difficult for Lena and her family, but she is on a path to success and a much brighter future.

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