A couple from our first Faith & Finances class here at First Baptist, Richard and Michele faced eviction and potential homelessness. They had accumulated debt that had gone into collection and their marriage was struggling. This is not an uncommon problem in our community. In Knoxville, a renter earning 7.25 per hour would have to work 89 hours per week to afford a 1-bedroom rental at the fair market rate of 648.00 per month. Affordable housing is hard to come by and families all over our community are struggling every day just to get by.
After successfully completing Getting Ahead classes, Richard and Michelle enrolled in Faith & Finances, a class for low-income or financially vulnerable adults. Each session is designed to meet the learning needs of those who struggle to manage their money and overcome real-world pitfalls on the path to financial health. The program offers a context for participants to learn best practices of financial literacy—including saving, expense tracking, and building productive assets. Even more, as part of God’s work in the world, people in all income levels discover that they play a key role in God’s kingdom, using their resources to restore broken relationships.
During the class, Richard and Michele established a spending plan and set savings goals. At the end of class, they were connected with an ally who walked with them as they worked on their goals. They have since paid off 20 old debts, established an emergency fund, and taken steps toward healing relationships damaged by their financial mismanagement. They spoke to our most recent Faith & Finance participants about how they created a spending plan and saved money on a modest income.
We just finished our 2nd class here at First Baptist. Four out of the 6 new graduates are now putting money in a savings account for the first time. Two developed plans to pay off old debt. Like Richard and Michele, they need church members who have a desire to walk alongside them over the long-term. If you are interested in becoming an ally or getting involved in Faith & Finances contact Gina Whitmore at .