Homeless and in debt, Kaitlyn Hauser needed a change in her life. Her low credit score and daunting amount of debt made it nearly impossible to find an affordable place to live. Out of options and money, Kaitlyn had no choice but to stay at the Lantern House homeless shelter with her six-year-old son. While she was there, the Lantern House referred Kaitlyn to the SparkPoint Center at Cottages of Hope for financial counseling.
At the SparkPoint Center, financial counselor Tallie saw Kaitlyn’s situation and immediately took action to help her become independent. Once Kaitlyn learned about the resources that Cottages of Hope offered, she didn’t miss an opportunity. “I came to the budgeting class and I met Tallie. She just been a huge help providing resources and ideas, if she can’t do it she knows somebody that can do it and might be able to help. She’s just been great, she helped me file my taxes, ” Kaitlyn says.
Through help from SparkPoint Center, Kaitlyn found housing assistance, health insurance for her son, and financial coaching. Kaitlyn was able to meet with a financial coach on a weekly basis and take budgeting classes. “They know a lot here. They have a lot of resources and a lot of knowledge, they can direct you in the right direction. Sometimes you can’t do better because you don’t know what to do and they’ll tell you what it takes. It’s a little bit of work but it’s worth it,” Kaitlyn says.
During tax season, SparkPoint Center connected Kaitlyn to the VITA program (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance). With the help of this program and her financial coach, Kaitlyn was able to receive a sizeable tax return. The VITA program helped Kaitlyn maximize her tax refund and take advantage of available tax credits. Kaitlyn’s tax return offered a great opportunity to improve her financial stability, allowing her to pay off some debt and start saving money.
Kaitlyn has been able to slowly start building up her credit and chip away at her debt. She now has a full-time job, apartment, and a car. She has been taking big steps towards a new life and never wants to be homeless again. When asked about her experience at the SparkPoint Center, Kaitlyn is extremely grateful, “I would recommend it for anybody. It’s a great support system. It’s good to have somebody in your community that you can look to for answers or guidance.”