Single mom goes from eviction to financial coach, thanks to a little help
You’d never know she nearly ended up on the streets judging from where she is now.
Vera Hanna worked as a consultant for numerous corporations throughout the United States in the pharmaceutical industry. But several times, she found herself unemployed. And as a single mother who had her son Tyler just days before she turned 22, Vera had her share of tough times.
“The first time BCM helped me, my son was in middle school. I was working and working, but it took longer [than usual] to obtain another contract,” she said. “I exhausted my savings, but I didn’t want to go to my family. I had always been able to pay my rent, pay my utilities, pay my car, and did what I had to do.
“Things were tight, and I didn’t know what to do about receiving help. So I just got online and started researching and found that BCM was in my zip code at the time.”
Vera reached out to see if BCM could help her – and they did.
“They prayed for me and paid my rent for that month. They also offered me help with utilities, food and clothing. But just that assistance for the next 30 days of rent was extremely helpful,” she said.
“And there’s a spiritual foundation that was there, [that provided] comfort and encouragement. It was phenomenal.”
It wasn’t until 2017 that Vera once again found herself in need of some help from BCM to get by. And this time, she was facing eviction from her apartment. In fact, she’d already gotten the truck to pack up her things.
“This period was the scariest for me. At times, for three or four months I wouldn’t have something, but this time was almost a year without work. I used up my savings and even borrowed from my 401(k),” she said. “It’s crazy – you can live somewhere for four, five, ten years and never be late with your rent. But the one time you’re going to be late, they’ll get the sheriff on you.”
Between some help from her sister and BCM, Vera was able to get back on her feet. And in just two year’s time, Vera was able to pay off her $7,000 of debt and gain financial freedom to live the life she has today: making six figures and looking for properties to invest in with her son.
“When Tyler was little, things were tight, but I always made it work,” Vera said. “I wasn’t a shopper; I was just taking care of business. But all children know is that you’re supposed to protect them. They look to you to make sure a roof is over their head, that they’re fed, educated and kept safe.
“My priorities were all intact, so it was a very humbling experience for me to go to BCM. But I decided I wasn’t going to let pride get in the way, and I’m glad that I didn’t.”
Vera’s own story, and the stories of those who lived what she did, has informed her perspective and given her the heart to be there for those who need it.
“I saw on the news that during the pandemic, there were these middle aged women who were losing their places. I literally just sat there crying in the living room,” she said. “I know that. I lived that. The price of things raises: food, gas, homes, et cetera. But your money’s not growing.
“What sets BCM apart is that I reached out to them, they set up an appointment with me, I took the documents, spent an hour and 15 minutes filling them out, and that same day they approved it. And the next thing I know my rent was being paid.
Having the assistance when she needed it is what motivates Vera to give back to BCM today.
“I’ve always been one to manage my finances, whether I’m making what I do now or the $15 an hour I did back then. And earlier this year, I got an email from BCM asking if I’d be interested in volunteering as a budget management coach, and it brought tears to my eyes,” she said. “I told my son, and he looked at me and said, ‘Mom, if anybody can be a budget management coach, it’s you.’
“I’ve shared my knowledge with my son and my family, and I want to do this as long as God will have me to.”
Along with serving as a budget management coach, Vera gives financially to support BCM, too. Because she knows that behind every discouraged face is a story, like her own.
“There are a lot of people like myself, contrary to popular belief. There’s a reason why people are on the streets. There’s a reason why any family is hungry or starving,” she said. “I’ve been working since I was 16; there’s nothing that’s ever been lazy or ‘I need a handout’ about me. Life happens to people from all walks of life, all ethnicities. It’s a global problem, and I would say that there aren’t enough BCMs in the world.
“There are a lot of people struggling out here and [struggling] longer than me. Maybe they don’t have the skills; maybe they don’t have the family support. Maybe they don’t know about A, B or C. But everyone knows someone who needs help.
“This is what community should be about. I’ve always tithed and given back, and I just felt like what BCM did for me and my son, that’s what I’ve always done in my community. And if I’m ever in a position where my salary will double, I’ll do even more than I do now to support BCM.
“They’re a solid, sound support system and are truly community-driven. On a scale of one to ten, I’d rank them a 100.”