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Mentor program helps those in public housing

For almost two decades a nation wide program offered at the Elkhart Housing Authority has helped uplift families.34 families have been able to purchase their own homes and many others have advanced to careers from minimum wage jobs.    
 
Last week an $86,000 grant was awarded to the Elkhart Housing Authority and that money will keep two mentors on board to continue their work with about 100 families.
 
“Family Rules: always tell the truth, laugh, dream big,” reads Sadi Love. 

Love decorates her apartment with quotes to inspire her three children, but she did not always have someone to motivate her.
 
“If you don’t have nobody to guide you, you don’t think about certain things until somebody tells you like this will be a good idea for you to do,” says Love. 
 
Love was diagnosed with leukemia in 2013 and is now unable to work. This has made it hard to reach one of her life goals.
 
“I would love to have a home for my children so that they will be able to play, play basketball, ya know run around,” says Love. 
 
That dream inspired Love to join the Family Self Sufficiency Program. She voluntarily signed up to receive mentoring on how to find a job and eventually become a homeowner.
 
“I tell people I’ll be your cheerleader so I’ll help them get back into school or college or job training programs. To maybe increase their income,” says Jodee Shaw, FSS Coordinator with the Elkhart Housing Authority. 

 Shaw is Love’s cheerleader and a coordinator for the FSS program. She mentors 60 plus clients in Elkhart. She connects them with financial and educational resources that lead to higher paying jobs.
 
 “When their income goes up then their rent goes up so they say well what’s the point?”says Shaw. 
 
While in the FSS program once you land a higher paying job the difference in income base rent is placed into a savings account that can be accessed once completing the program.
 
 “We’ve had clients walk away with as much as 20 thousand dollars that they can then use to put a down payment on a home,” says Shaw. 

While Love is still unable to find full time work right now, Shaw is helping her find alternative ways like selling hair pieces that she makes at home to start putting away money.
 
In the meantime Love continues to attend money management classes. She says while her children watch her keep track of finances she is teaching them lessons she never learned.
 
“Do you think some of the lessons you have learned from Jodee you are able to pass on to your kids now?” asked ABC57.

“Yea, budgeting is one of them. When they get money from their dad they want to spend and spend and it and I’ll be like no you need to put it up maybe if you see something you like in the future then you can get,” says Love. 

In order to participate in the program you must currently live in public housing or receive Housing Choice Vouchers. For more information stop by the Elkhart Housing Authority, 
 

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