ESL Federal Credit Union is this year’s financial education program provider for Flower City Habitat for Humanity.
Anyone moving into a Flower City Habitat home must complete a financial education program consisting of six, 60- to 90-minute classes over a six-week period as part of the homebuyers process.
“We are truly gratified to have ESL come alongside us in this manner, as the impact on our homebuyers will be a lasting one,” said Matt Flanigan, CEO of Flower City Habitat for Humanity. “We’re proud of our long-term partnership with ESL and appreciate their generosity. We look forward to continuing to work together to achieve our mission of building homeownership, communities and hope.”
Eight homebuyers are participating in the first program of the year. The topics covered help prepare these future homeowners for financial management issues that homebuyers often experience, including budgeting, saving and investing, debt management and credit scores, and identity theft and predatory lending. The final class of the program is organized by Flower City Habitat and covers next steps for the homebuyers.
“Financial education builds the foundation for any homeowner,” said Malik Evans, financial wellness manager at ESL Federal Credit Union. “Through education, homeowners can gain control over managing their finances so they can build their dream home. And while these classes provide a vital starting point, it is up to all of us to never stop learning and understanding how our finances impact our lives.”
Homebuyers in the program must contribute what Flower City Habitat calls sweat equity in order to earn and move into their new homes, which involves a minimum of 300 service hours. Sweat equity activities include helping with construction on their future home, working in Flower City Habitat’s ReStore locations, speaking at Flower City Habitat events, volunteering with other community organizations, and the hours spent in the home maintenance and financial education program classes.
This timeframe — from the start of the program to moving into their new homes — often takes homebuyers about 12-18 months.