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Paterson Financial Empowerment Center Client Buys Her First Home

Paterson Financial Empowerment Center Client Buys Her First Home

March 1, 2024

Watch our video on Lidia

At the beginning of 2023, NJCDC partnered with the City of Paterson's Office of Financial Empowerment to officially relaunch the Paterson Financial Empowerment Center (FEC). The only financial empowerment center in the state, the Paterson FEC helps low- and moderate-income Paterson residents achieve financial stability through free, one-on-one financial counseling. The FEC's financial counselors guide clients toward a range of financial goals, including reducing and managing debt, establishing and building credit, opening a bank account, creating a budget, buying a house, and more.

Recently, this last goal became a reality for Lidia Jimenez. Lidia came to Paterson from the Dominican Republic, looking to start a new life in the United States. Like many immigrants, she faced a lot of challenges in her new life. With her family still living in the Dominican Republic, Lidia had to raise her children without the support network to which she had grown accustomed. She also had to work hard in a factory to earn enough money to support her family. It was stressful for Lidia and her children, but although there were challenges, they persevered and remained determined to create a better life for their family.

In 2023, Lidia came to the FEC to learn about how to manage her finances — and how to achieve her dream of buying a house so that her children would have more stability. It was a lot of hard work for her, but the FEC counselors guided her through the processes of reducing her debt, creating budgets, and increasing her savings.

Lidia also opened a new checking account and improved her credit score. Now that she was in a much better financial position, Lidia got approved for a mortgage, and in December, she closed on her family's new home!

Now that she has bought a new home, Lidia plans to continue working with the FEC to achieve even more financial goals. In the future, she plans to start her own business and will work with the FEC's financial counselors to find funding for the new business and to get guidance on making the business successful. In addition, two of Lidia's children are young adults. As a result of their mother's experience, they are also starting to work with the FEC. This support will ensure they have a strong foundation to maintain financial stability throughout adulthood, enabling them to achieve their future goals!

I am grateful to the FEC's team for changing my family's life," said Lidia. "I am thankful for the FEC's help in achieving my American Dream to become a proud homeowner. They have provided support not just to me but also to my kids and future generations. I am grateful to the entire team for everything they did for us.

Mass Santos, Director of the FEC, said, "At the Financial Empowerment Center, we take pride in being a beacon of hope for individuals striving to achieve their financial goals. Our center is where people can learn, plan, and take action towards their financial future. Lidia is a shining example of an individual who has worked hard and achieved her goals with our assistance. With dedication, perseverance, and guidance, she overcame financial obstacles and made her dreams a reality. We feel incredibly grateful to be able to offer our services to those in need, and we take pride in seeing our clients exceed their expectations and create a brighter financial future for themselves and their families."

"We are grateful to Mayor Sayegh and the City of Paterson for their strong partnership with us on the Financial Empowerment Center," said NJCDC Founder & CEO Bob Guarasci. "Together, we are working every day to transform lives in Paterson. Lidia's story shows how impactful the Financial Empowerment Center is, and we look forward to continuing to work with the City to make financial stability achievable for all Paterson residents."

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