Spring has sprung and with it comes a new hope for Construction worker, Martin Dominguez. His heart and soul goes into supporting his wife and daughter, which means he is willing to put everything on the line for their wellbeing . . . and that’s exactly what he did.
7 years ago, Martin and his wife were overjoyed as they brought their first and only child into the world; however, this new chapter also brought hardship as Mrs. Dominguez was let go from her job soon after. This came at a time when Martin’s parents were also depending on him for support. The financial strain was palpable but for the time it was tolerable. It wasn’t until they discovered their daughter has asthma that the financial burden became too much.
During that point in time, Martin would lose his insurance for three months out of the year, at which point he had to pay out of pocket. He said the bills snuck up on him – it became too much to pay for the mortgage, car, groceries, insurance, and medicine for his daughter.
“I didn’t have money saved so it became a choice between having a home and keeping up with my family,” he said. “I chose family.”
Martin tried to find help but felt the venture to be pointless. In the end he lost his home and spent the next 6 years scraping by and attempting to get out of debt.
In March of 2016 Martin had walked by a Spanish Coalition for Housing (SCH) office and recalled hearing about their services years prior. He had known they were in the community but wasn’t sure what amenities they provided. With a deep breath and a leap of faith he walked up to the front desk to see if they could help him. After explaining that his financial state had come out of a time when he had zero savings and very low credit, SCH urged him to see Financial Literacy Counselor, Gerardo Ravelo.
After Martin’s first meeting with Gerardo, it became apparent that he first needed to build up his credit, learn how to budget, and put money away into savings each month.
“I didn’t know how to start over again until I spoke to Gerardo,” Martin exclaimed! “I didn’t know how to build credit or what my options were so he explained everything to me. It definitely opened my eyes to how I managed and how I should manage my money.”
After several months of guidance from SCH and disciplined spending and saving, Martin was able to get his credit score to the healthy number of 711. It was with a sigh of relief that he was able to reduce his entire debt from the foreclosure by $159,000, leaving him with the manageable debt of $1,900. Gerardo said the long journey paid off as Martin is now nearly ready to purchase a home again, but this time he will be financially prepared.
“I’ve been so much more relaxed since starting with SCH,” Martin said. “I know I can get things done now and pay for things. I’m looking forward to buying a home again and having that security.”
Martin said he has plans to follow whatever advice and direction SCH provides and will stick with them throughout his homebuying journey. His advice to anyone else in his position is to seek out Spanish Coalition for Housing’s help and stick with the program. He believes that the time it takes is well worth it in the end.
If you or someone you know is experiencing or is fearful of a financial crisis, call or visit an SCH office near you to schedule an appointment with one of our trusted Financial Literacy coaches. Spanish Coalition for Housing has three convenient locations across the Chicagoland area:
1922 N. Pulaski Rd.
Chicago, IL 60639
1915 S. Blue Island
Chicago, IL 60608
South Chicago –
9010 S. Commercial Ave
Chicago, IL 60617