Lack of access to financial and housing education is a major contributor to the homeownership gap for Black and Latino families. To help close that gap, Freddie Mac supports the Center for Financial Advancement (CFA), a signature program of HomeFree-USA that provides financial empowerment to future generations of homebuyers.

CFA partners with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) across the country to offer students a financial capability curriculum that includes Freddie Mac’s CreditSmart® suite, a free online resource. The program focuses on the basics of credit and money management, building a foundational skill set students will take with them as they enter the workforce.

Many of these students, including O’Shaela Peebles, are the first in their family to receive formal financial education, further underscoring the need for programs like CFA.

Education Leads to New Opportunities

Peebles was introduced to CFA during her junior year at North Carolina Central University and immediately saw its impact.

“I learned everything from credit to saving and budgeting, and I also learned about another HomeFree-USA program for homeownership,” Peebles said.

In addition to strengthening her financial capabilities, the homeownership program presented an exciting opportunity for Peebles and her family. Her mother, Anita, was a lifelong renter who had ambitions of homeownership but was not sure where to start.

“All my life, my mom was a renter and she wanted to become a homeowner — the physical legacy of having a home, but also something that would be an asset for us,” Peebles said. “But she was nervous because she didn’t have the knowledge. It was a daunting task for her, and I felt the best thing for me to do was to educate myself, as well.”

While she continued her work with the CFA, Peebles connected her mother to the HomeFree-USA homeownership program and was by her side for every step of her journey to becoming a first-generation homeowner.

“She had the vision, and I was lucky enough to find a resource that helped us,” Peebles said. “I got to see my mom really blossom, and that was a beautiful thing.”

A Wealth of Knowledge for Future Generations

Like her mother, Peebles has her own dreams of homeownership in the future. Thanks to her exposure to CFA and Home-Free USA — and the example of her mother’s success — she now knows what it takes to get there. She also sees the lasting impact this knowledge will have for her family.

“I’m not ready just yet, but when that day comes, I’ll have the tools I need to be able to own my own home,” Peebles said. “Having this knowledge that can be passed down, whether it’s my little cousin or my child, has changed the trajectory of my whole family for generations to come.”

Financial education and outreach to historically underserved communities is key in furthering Freddie Mac’s mission to Make Home Possible for all families. Since 2020, our CreditSmart suite has provided nearly 350,000 families with a foundational understanding of personal finances and the homebuying process.

Our collaboration with programs such as HomeFree-USA allows us to broaden our reach at the community level. Part of our Borrower Help Center Network, HomeFree-USA is a HUD-approved housing counseling agency serving more than 40,000 new homebuyers nationwide.

To learn more about our commitment to expanding homeownership opportunities visit Our Mission page.

Our Impact: Making Home Possible Across the Map

Our interactive map provides a detailed look at how we’re serving our mission at the national and state level.