The Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee (HACM) and the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC) hosted a graduation ceremony on Tuesday, December 13, 2016 for 240 low-income individuals who have completed the “Make Your Money Talk” financial education program in 2016. The event was held at St. Marcus Lutheran School, 2215 N. Palmer Street, in Milwaukee.
Make Your Money Talk provides an intensive education in budgeting, managing credit and saving money for life-changing assets. Upon completion of the course, HACM residents with earned income qualify to open an Individual Development Account (IDA), which helps them save towards the purchase of a home, education or starting a business. Graduates also receive ongoing financial coaching from WWBIC.
“I am standing before you to say ‘Dreams do come true,’” said Charlotte Stevenson, a former graduate and featured speaker at the event. “Today I am a proud first-time homeowner. I am the first person in my family to own a home. It took me two years to get out of debt and get ready for my home, but I’ve made it with the help of a financial coach from WWBIC. Patience pays off.”
“Sometimes you have to make difficult decisions to move forward,” keynote speaker Ann Wilson, Manager of the Hillside Family Resource Center, told the audience. “Stay true to yourself, your family and your goals, and you will get to where you want to go.”
Since the program’s inception, over 1,700 individuals have completed the course and over 800 have opened an IDA. Matched savings among the IDA holders total more than $2.3 million in purchasing power. To date:
- 102 graduates have purchased a home
- 71 graduates have invested in their or their child’s education
- 52 graduates have started a business
“This program changes lives in dramatic ways, because it provides the education and tools people need to make those changes for themselves all throughout their lives,” said Mayor Tom Barrett.
“We find inspiration in the ways our residents achieve great things for themselves, their families and their community by combining their commitment to a personal goal with opportunities like “Make Your Money Talk” and the IDA program,” said HACM Secretary-Executive Director Tony Pérez.