Finding Firm Financial Ground

Inspired by her own grade school teacher, who pushed her to achieve her potential, Lottie had a long career as an educator. However, twelve years ago, Lottie was between jobs and looking for a safe, affordable home. “My prayer was, ‘God, help me to find something, somewhere that I feel comfortable and safe.’”

Lottie was grateful to learn of Mercy Housing Lakefront’s Pullman Wheelworks, an affordable housing community in Chicago’s Pullman neighborhood, where she found safety and peace of mind. “During the summer this is the only [place] that you can actually hear kids playing, you don’t hear gunshots,” Lottie says. This allows her to care for her goddaughter each summer.

While Lottie has an affordable home, she has struggled at times to manage her finances. She and her friend from the building went shopping regularly, sometimes beyond their means. Lottie’s credit card bills were piling up: “at some point I was like, ‘I’m just going to work to pay bills, I’m tired of just paying bills.’”

Lottie found help through the Asset Building Ladder Program. She participates actively in the program, attending group workshops and individual financial coaching sessions, and has used her newfound skills to pay down a significant portion of her credit card debt. “What I decided to do…is not shop with a credit card. I had to pay for it with cash and if I didn’t have the money for it, I couldn’t get it.”

Her progress is contagious: her friend is improving her financial habits too. Instead of shopping, they work on debt reduction and savings. “So now,” Lottie says, “our goal is to…see what we can get and put to the side without touching it.” With the help of the Asset Building Ladder Program, Lottie is on firm financial ground and confident in her ability to meet her goals.

Mercy Housing Lakefront’s Asset Building Ladder Program was made possible by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, and in 2018 expanded to serve residents at three properties.