Building for the Long-Term with Financial Education
MAKING HOME POSSIBLE IN OKLAHOMA
Financial education is a critical first step toward sustainable homeownership. Freddie Mac works with nonprofit organizations and HUD-certified housing counselors to expand access to financial education in Native communities, providing tools and resources that help participants gain control of their finances and work toward their housing goals.
Native community development financial institutions (CDFIs) offer financial education resources as a way to strengthen and support their communities. Freddie Mac CreditSmart® Essentials is an integral tool in their efforts to increase financial capability for historically underserved consumers, including Native Americans who have been disproportionately targeted by predatory lending practices.
CreditSmart Essentials educates consumers on the basics of personal finances, including budgeting, banking and managing credit. For David Yerby, putting these concepts into practice gave him a foundation to build on for the long-term — both figuratively and literally.
Living on land passed down from his grandparents, Yerby has always felt at home in Ada, Oklahoma — even if his financial situation made it difficult to live there comfortably. Yerby had been living in a mobile home that was in disrepair until an unexpected awakening inspired him to change his circumstances.
“One Saturday morning, I woke up and it started raining,” Yerby said. “I rolled over, I’m looking straight up at the ceiling and a raindrop hit me right between the eyes. And I said, ‘You know, David, it’s time to do something different.’”
He had dreamed of building his own home on his family’s land, but soon learned his low credit score and lack of savings would make it difficult to take out a mortgage. Yerby reached out to Chickasaw Nation’s housing office, where he was introduced to housing counselor Kyra Childers.
“My first impression of David was, ‘Oh, dear,’” Childers said. “He didn’t have two nickels to rub together.”
Despite working 80-90 hours per week and making good money, Yerby found himself living paycheck to paycheck. Upon meeting Childers, they immediately got to work on fundamental changes to improve his situation.
“The first step was showing him that he could do it,” Childers said. “We worked out a budget and we got him set up where he would save so much at a pay period.”
Building for the Future
Yerby completed CreditSmart Essentials and began to put the lessons he learned into action. Before long, he had set aside enough money to upgrade to a new mobile home, and in the 10 years since he sought housing counseling, he has saved enough to begin building his own home on the family’s land. He credits the lessons he learned for helping him get where he is today.
“My grandpa taught me a lot of things about having a work ethic and earning your keep, but he didn’t really teach me much about how much to save,” Yerby said. “And when I got introduced to Kyra, everything just kind of fell into place.”
Through CreditSmart Essentials, Freddie Mac is making it easier for more people like Yerby to gain critical, foundational knowledge and skills that create long-term financial success.
To learn more about Freddie Mac’s commitment to supporting affordable housing and financial education, visit the Our Mission page.