Hoffman Estates non-profit helps mothers in need with financial ‘bootcamp’

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. (CBS) — Inflation is taking its toll on all of us but higher prices are make things especially difficult for those living paycheck-to-paycheck. 

A Hoffman Estates non-profit is teeing up for a golf fundraiser to ease the burden of soaring costs on single moms. Morning Insider Lauren Victory takes us a look at the strict program that’s driving success.

Jessica Arreguin couldn’t help but smile at her son’s unmade bed. She’s just happy to give a whole room to her 11-year-old son.

Her favorite part about being a homeowner is that the home belongs to her. She’s so proud of how far she’s come.

Arreguin previously lived in an apartment rented to her by Fellowship Housing, a non-profit based in Hoffman Estates that helps struggling single mothers.

“When I first came into the program, I was rock bottom,” said Arreguin who shared she was going through a separation at time while also dealing with health and financial issues.

“Even in the darkest moments of a mom’s life, a light exists,” says a Fellowship Housing promo on YouTube. The faith-based organization provides 32 moms shelter, counseling and budgeting lessons in the suburbs.

“They really showed me how to really prioritize, how to manage, how to stand up for myself,” said Arreguin, a nurse.

For her and others, it’s a fresh start but also a strict one, especially when it comes to finances. Rules are piled on.

“You have to let them know what you’re doing, when you’re doing. Why are you spending extra?” Arreguin explained.

Moms’ decisions are dissected by case workers called family advocates. Entertainment expenses including fast food and movies are kept to $30. Grocery receipts are analyzed and paystubs are examined.

“We do it not to be invasive. We do it to leverage every single penny,” said Pam Orr, explaining the rigidity.

Orr is Fellowship Housing’s Executive Director and she doesn’t shy away from calling the program a “two-year bootcamp.”

“‘You’re going to work extremely hard. It is going to be hard,'” Orr tells the mothers upon intake.

Many of them come out the other side with tens of thousands in savings. Almost half amass enough to buy a home. Word is getting around.

“For the first time ever, we do have a waiting list,” said Orr who attributes a lot of the need to inflation and stagnant wages.

The non-profit can’t expand without help. Its charity golf tournament usually brings in a good chunk but not enough.

Orr’s pitch to potential donors? “It’s not a donation or a gift. It’s an investment in lives.”

It’s also an investment in lessons that can be shared.

“If I want to spend it – the money – I can. But I still hold back and I don’t. And I’m also teaching this to my son,” said Arreguin.

A few spots are left in the charity golf tournament that’s set for this Thursday in Barrington.

Fellowship Housing also accepts new or gently used items for moms in need. Its website includes an Amazon wishlist.

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