I recently sat down to chat with Kelsi Depew, former CASH and IDA program client, to chat about her experience with the program and where she is now.
When a friend told Kelsi and her husband John about the CASH program at Interfaith Housing and the IDA match, it sounded too good to be true. They had been living in a rental cabin in the country about one-tenth of an acre and had dreams of some land that they could homestead. As they went through the program, not only did the 2:1 match help them save for a down payment, it taught them about building credit.
“The building credit part was really informative. We had been taught to avoid debt at all costs, so we didn’t have any debt going into the program. We learned to leverage dent in order to build a credit history in preparation for our purchase, Kelsi said.
Part way through the program, Kelsi and John found out they were expecting their first child. While some of their priorities changed, they knew they still wanted more space and a place for a garden.
In 2013, they purchased their first home with a personal goal of having it paid off within ten to fifteen years. With the support of family and friends, as well as smart financial decisions, they made their last payment in early 2017.
Prior to the CASH program, the Depews were good about trying to save, but month to month it may or may not actually happen. The year of required monthly saving not only strengthened the habit but helped to show the compounded return on the discipline.
“It solidified out habit of saving. Sometimes you have to pull it out once it’s in there. Now it is more of a rule than a goal- it isn’t a choice you make each month. You just do it.”
While Kelsi was here, she asked how she could best give back to Interfaith Housing financially.
“This organization has such a large return on investment for families. If you want to really invest in the community- Interfaith will take your gift and really impact people’s lives. We went from clients to donors in five years. That is amazing.”
Kelsi, John, and their three lovely children live in their farmhouse just outside Arlington, where they have a garden and more space to put down roots.