Spotlight on Ebony Bland: FSS Graduate

Ebony Bland’s money management skills have improved to the point where she no longer requires housing assistance. By sharing her story, she encourages her RRHA neighbors to learn more about RRHA’s Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program.

Knowledge is power, and nobody is better proof than Ebony Bland.

With the skills she acquired at FSS workshops, she is many steps closer to fulfilling her ambition to own a home. Bland first learned of the workshops by reading a story about another woman in similar circumstances and how FSS had helped her achieve her goals. “I saw FSS as a chance to turn my life around.”

When she first enrolled in FSS, Bland worked with a counselor to map out a plan of action. “In my early twenties, I hadn’t paid attention to my credit score,” she explained. “I didn’t know how to get ahead of my bills. I was paying them on time, but that wasn’t enough.” The workshops helped her set up a budget, set aside money for special purchases, such as birthday presents, and track her credit score.

In addition to sessions on money management, RRHA hosted job fairs and resume preparation classes.

Bland enjoyed her interactions with other people in the program and hearing their stories. “I saw that you have to know yourself, see yourself in the future.”

Lessons learned now benefit Bland’s whole family. “Schools don’t teach kids what they need to know about credit cards and saving money.” Bland passed on her knowledge to her oldest son and daughter. “They check their credit scores regularly and know how to save money.”

Bland also credits the FSS program for moving her closer to her dream of owning a home. Currently working with a realtor, she is in the process of pre-qualifying for a mortgage specially designed for a first time home buyer. 

(Left) Brett Brooks, RRHA Program Manager; (Right) Ebony Bland, FSS Program Graduate

The biggest lesson? “Focus on your needs, not your wants.”

Learn more about the FSS Program open to LIPH and HCVP participants