How Shirley Powell Achieved Her Dream
by Pringle Franklin
Shirley Powell walked away from working with Peter McClintock, housing counselor at Increasing H.O.P.E., two different times. She didn’t think she could follow the tedious path of strict budgeting and debt payment which was recommended.
“At first, I did not take the time to listen to Peter because I was discouraged, and I kept looking at the mountain in front of me,” says Shirley, a customer service representative with T-Mobile. “The third time I came back, Peter told me that it was not going to happen if I did not stick with it and keep working with them.”
Now, Shirley is the proud owner of a 3-bedroom brick home in Summerville, including a large backyard, a garage, and an above-ground swimming pool. She lives there with her 23-year-old son. Shirley closed on her home in late August.
“I was so nervous, I was shaking. I could barely sign my name,” Shirley recalls. “The lawyer said the hard part is over. You don’t have to be nervous now!”
The hard part included following a strict budget plan created with Peter. Shirley limited her spending. She paid off debts. She set aside money for taxes. She saved money toward the house. Shirley also followed the advice of Dorothea Bernique, executive director of Increasing H.O.P.E., to earn more income. Shirley took on part-time work, including driving for Lyft. Through hard work and discipline, Shirley transformed her credit score and eventually qualified for a mortgage.
Even after the closing, Shirley says she could hardly believe that she had actually purchased a home. “It wasn’t until after I had spent the first night at the house. I was backing out of the driveway to go to work and stopped to look at it. That’s when I started to cry.”
Shirley hopes that her success story will encourage others to believe that they can also own a family home. Her journey took several years. “I made it longer than it had to be, because I kept quitting, I kept doubting them,” Shirley says. “They knew what they were talking about!”