The one thing I would say to other people about Brighton Center is to have hope. Try it. If your life was as hectic and chaotic as my life was prior to incarceration and living a life in recovery, then I know how you feel. 

The very first thing that brought me to Brighton Center was the need for food because my kids were coming over for the weekend while I was working toward getting them back in my life. I was working a job with very little pay and needed extra support. 

One day I came across a brochure about getting help purchasing a home. I didn’t think it was even a remote possibility for me. Things like that don’t happen to me, primarily because of all the chaos I’ve caused in my life. 

After having that brochure for a couple of months, I decided to call and sign up for the homeownership workshop. It was so enlightening. I learned so much about buying a house that I had no idea about, and it gave me confidence that this may work for me! 

After the workshop, I met with a Financial Coach to learn more about my finances. I started to look for a better-paying job and learned that I would have to be at the same job for at least six months before applying for a home loan. I also began to work on building my credit score. I ensured all my bills were paid early or on time and got a secured credit card to increase my credit score. 

One of the many things my Financial Coach helped educate me on was paying off my credit card at the end of the month. Within a year, I went from a credit score of almost nothing to almost 700. I also went from a job making $12.50 an hour to $16.00 an hour, and it was a full-time career. That’s when I decided to move forward with getting a loan at the bank. I was pre-approved for a loan after the work I put into building my credit and increasing my earnings. It turned out that my monthly payments would only be slightly higher than my rent each month. I am halfway there to owning my own home. 

My biggest accomplishment was doing something everyone told me I couldn’t do or wouldn’t do, which I started to believe myself. Meeting with Brighton Center made me believe that I could. In the last few years, I have earned custody of all three of my kids. I followed through with the plan I was given by social services, the judge, and my lawyer. I even had a letter to the judge from my Probation Officer recommending I get custody of my kids back. 

Many people are in the same position I used to be in. I remember so clearly how I felt and the poor choices I made that led me down the very dark and lonely road. Even through recovery, I started to doubt if I would ever have a chance of leading the life I dreamt I could. I have turned myself and my life completely around.

Once you set your mind to something, you can accomplish your goals. I have custody of my kids, I’m working, I’ve got good credit, and I am taking steps toward homeownership. There is hope, and it can be done because I am doing it! 

My story is not yet finished. I will be a homeowner soon. Thanks to the one brochure...a single piece of paper led me to have so much hope.

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