In March 2020, Paris knew her family needed help. Paris was nine months pregnant when the COVID-19 lockdown began and she had growing concerns around the delivery protocols of her baby. When the time came for delivery, and new safety protocols in place, Paris and her fiancé were instructed to wear masks through labor and delivery, and family members were not allowed at the hospital. For the new parents, there was constant fear that they, or their baby, would contract the virus.
Once home, the couple faced the added challenge of caring for their newborn daughter without family help due to recent lockdown orders. During this time, Paris’s other son needed support adjusting to remote learning.
Paris and her fiancé felt stressed and increasingly alone. Concerns grew about their jobs and financial stability. When her fiancé was laid off, the couple fell behind with rent payments.
“We had to reach out for help, which was hard. I’m used to being independent.”
Paris learned about United Way Bay Area’s SparkPoint program. SparkPoint® Centers work with families to meet their basic needs, increase their income, build their credit, increase their savings, and reduce their debt. Financial coaches work one-on-one with clients to recognize behavioral outcomes, set goals, brainstorm strategies, and set realistic action plans. After an initial call, Paris knew it was the right step. Working with the coaches, learning how to work on her credit, and how to create a budget helped.
“Credit counseling has been the most effective. When you grow up in poverty, you’re not taught the benefits of credit. So, to have someone help me and help me teach my kids – it’s been the most beneficial to me. Being financially secure is the ultimate goal.”
Both are working again and able to cover expenses with their new budgeting techniques. Paris plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree, having recently earned her associate degree. Best of all, they are saving to buy a home.