Eva is clear about why she initially wanted to build her credit. She needed to move into a new apartment after a fire in her previous building. She found one in a neighborhood she liked and that was close to her work. But she couldn’t rent it because her credit score was in the low 500s. “Without having good credit, you get either the bare minimum, or they [landlords] won’t even let you look. I didn’t want to live just anywhere. I wanted to love it when I walk out the door.”

Eva attended Working Credit’s workshop through its partnership with City Colleges of Chicago (CCC), which began in Fall 2019 as part of CCC’s Fresh Start Student Debt Relief program (and has since expanded to other initiatives), designed to both reduce financial barriers to continued enrollment and credential completion, while also supporting students’ overall financial goals. During the workshop, Eva noted that the Working Credit presenter “…explained it [the importance of credit building] so well. She didn’t try to get my information. In fact, she was just trying to help.”

Eva signed up for one-on-one counseling. “At this point in my life, my credit was really messed up.” Not only had she been unable to rent the apartment she wanted, she had also been out of work for two weeks as she transitioned to a new job as an Assistant Director at a daycare, and fell behind on bills.

But since she started working with her Working Credit Counselor, she has been making all of her payments on time, took out a credit builder loan, and has increased her score by over 65 points. Says Eva, “Rachel has kept me on my path. I love her! She listened, gave me information, gave me options. She helped me think about and understand how to track my money, taught me about APRs [annual percentage rates], and what is taking my money and where I can save. It opened my eyes to pay attention.”

Asked about her goals, Eva, who is 33, said she hopes to buy a house within the next several years and eventually start her own daycare. She plans to keep saving and keep building. “I want to have something at the end.”