It’s graduation night at the House of Hope, a homeless shelter in Lowell, Mass.
A small group of low-income women sit with their volunteer coaches, celebrating the completion of Budget Buddies — an unusual financial program that might just change their lives. Over the past 6 months, the women have learned core money-management skills, designed to make them economically self-sufficient and prevent them from sliding back into poverty. They’ve learned the basics of budgeting, banking and credit. And, perhaps most importantly, they’ve been given a rare boost in confidence.
“You have done something that a lot of people never do — never make a budget, never really put money away for savings, never track their expenses to see how much they are spending,” Anita Saville, executive director of Budget Buddies, tells the women, leading a round of applause. “You are so far ahead of most of the people in this country.”
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