Lakeisha Gentry’s gratitude and faith are instantly apparent upon first meeting. When asked how she got involved with Habitat, she had this to say.“I had been praying for God to send me resources, and then there was Habitat.”
Homeless since 2019, Lakeisha had been most recently living in the Mary & Martha House. Founded in 1982, Mary & Martha House has
been helping women and families escape domestic violence and homelessness for 40 years. However, their services are temporary and Lakeisha was in search of a more permanent solution.
It is here that you can truly see her determination.
Despite her circumstances, Lakeisha had dreams of homeownership. She would pray for the direction and resources she needed. She began taking homebuying classes from Solita’s House, Inc., a non-profit personal financial education and counseling organization founded in 2006.
They provide essential education, counseling and knowledge needed to secure and maintain homeownership.
“During the home buyer’s education courses, I saw Patty speak (Patty Campbell, VP of Outreach and Homeowner Services). I
had been praying for God to please send me some resources and for me to be able to use those resources to purchase a
home. I saw that Habitat says you put God’s love into action and I knew it was a sign.”
Soon after learning about Habitat, in April 2022, Lakeisha put in her application for the homeowner program. In May of 2022,
Lakeisha received a conditional letter. If she agreed to participate in the Financial Literacy Mentoring program and improve her credit, she would qualify for a Habitat home.
“They said, we still want to keep you in the program, however, we can’t build your home right now because you have to get
your credit score up. And there’s a program that we have right now to help you do that so you are in the right place at the
right time that we can help you raise your credit score.”
Working through the program with Nelly Colon, Financial Coach, Lakeisha raised her score from approximately 540 to
over 700. The program works with participants to both understand their credit score and reach out to credit bureaus to correct any inaccuracies but also create budgets, debt payoff strategies and understand primary financial planning.
“It has been an amazing journey with Nelly. She’s so professional. She’s uplifting spirits. She’s always encouraging you. Everybody at
Habitat for Humanity is just so amazing. They’re really putting God’s love into action, not only building houses but also helping
with credit repair.”
“She encouraged me not to be afraid, you know, to speak up. If there is something that shouldn’t be on my credit, reach out to
the credit bureaus and say that.”
“Then one night she called me in the evening time and I was like ‘what’s she doing?’ She left me a message saying she had some
exciting news. She said, your credit score is now over the 600 mark and I want to personally congratulate you and welcome you
to the program.”