Young family maximizes SNAP programs to reach their dreams
Christy and Nathan took a chance in 2011. Tired of their jobs, they decided to follow their dreams of furthering their educations. At the time they were living in a small apartment, and they felt the pinch without a steady source of income. SNAP was able to help with an energy assistance grant to help keep their power on, which they appreciated. But soon they had a baby girl, and the apartment was too small to fit them. They wanted to move to a bigger place, and owning their own home became a dream for them, until they realized how poor their credit was.
After their first interaction with SNAP, Christy knew that there were more services to help them make the next step. They signed up for SNAP’s free financial education classes – “Give Yourself a Raise” and “Navigate Your Credit World” and were able to get counseling from Jay MacPherson. Jay helped Christy and Nathan enroll in the Credit Building Loan Program, and they started using a Numerica credit card to build credit.
A year later, Christy and Nathan were now better at managing their own money and knowing how their credit could be affected by any missteps they made – this understanding kept them diligent, with their eyes on the prize of home ownership. The good news was that the hard work had paid off, and their joint credit score now qualified them for SNAP’s pre-purchase counseling. In 2015, they took SNAP’s Home Buyers Education class and worked with Housing Counselor, Mark Wrenn, to help them get a loan. They also qualified for down payment assistance, meaning that the price for them to move into a home of their own would be within reach.
“If we didn’t have SNAP to help us with all of that, I don’t know what we would have done.”
On May 1st, 2016, Nathan, Christy, (then seven months pregnant with their second child) and their 4-year-old girl moved into their own home in north Spokane. “If we didn’t have SNAP to help us with all of that, I don’t know what we would have done.” Luckily, they did have SNAP, and they don’t have to wonder.
They used their knowledge of SNAP to their benefit; Christy was still in school, and with the single income, they looked into and qualified for Weatherization and Essential Home Repair. This program helped them get a new furnace installed and insulation throughout the house.
Even after all of this, their journey with SNAP did not end. After being on the waitlist for about a year, they were notified that they could get a loan from the Single Family Rehab program, making additional home repairs and upgrades economically feasible for them. Their home also tested positive for lead, and thanks to state funds, they could receive a grant to make the repairs necessary to live safely in their home. The combination of these two opportunities meant the entire home would get a facelift: new window siding, fence removal, electrical upgrades, and more. These projects are wrapping up now, and they can already feel the impacts of the home’s efficiency, and marvel at the beauty of their home.
“Knowing where we started, and what we have now – it seemed impossible.”
Christy is due to receive her Master’s degree from EWU next summer, and Nathan has a good job working remotely for Apple. In hopes of building her resume and getting some on-job experience before she graduates, Christy has just signed on to volunteer with SNAP, and likes the idea of giving back. But she knows they will be back as clients – they both have their sights set on SNAP’s business classes and loans next!