Getting Your Finances in Order – Sept Ladies Night
Seems like each month Ladies Night in the Western Addition has gotten better and better, and this month was no exception.
The theme at this month’s event, held at the Western Addition Career Center, was “How to Rent and Own Below Market.” Rents in San Francisco are at an all-time high and low-to-moderate income housing availability is at a premium. Perhaps it’s no surprise that this month’s event was packed with ladies ready to learn more.
Knowing What You Want in Life Will Help You Find Your Place
Guest speaker, Sheri Powers from the SF Housing Development Corp (SFHDC) said knowing what you want out of life before can help you be successful in finding the home or rental of your dreams. She stressed that it’s important to have a “holistic empowerment” approach when looking for your next home or rental. Having a concrete idea of your vision, mission, and values will lead you to finding a space that’s not only affordable and financially sustainable, but also a place you’ll look forward to coming home to.
Three Questions to Answer Before Choosing a Rental or Home
Ms. Powers suggested that those seeking housing should know the answers to three questions before embarking on their search.
- What is your vision? If you were a 95 year old person, what would you need to have accomplished or have had in your life for you to be able to look back on it and say, “You know, I had a great life!”
- What’s your purpose or mission in life?
- What are your Top Five Core Values? Or put another way, what are the five best qualities that you have that people would put on your tombstone when you’re gone? What is your legacy?
Knowing what’s really important to you in all areas of your life can help you make better decisions, both financial and lifestyle-wise, when choosing a place to live.
Navigating the Low Income Housing Maze
Unless you have an unlimited bank account (and even if you do in SF’s sizzling real estate market), successfully getting an affordable home or apartment in the Bay Area can be a challenge.
A good place to start, if you’re looking for low-income or below market housing in the city is at the SF Mayor’s Office of Housing website, www.sfmohcd.org/ Those seeking housing can find the names, addresses, and application information for many of the city’s low income and below market rentals (“BMR” units are regular apartment buildings rented at low-moderate prices for tenants in a certain income / wage group, etc.)
Fixing Your Credit
As everyone knows, having good credit is important, especially if you’re looking to rent / buy a new home, looking for a new car, etc.
Here’s a few handy tips from the SFHDC to help you improve your credit.
- Pay your bills on time
- Try to have credit card balances at or below 30% of your credit line
- If you have to close some of your credit lines, don’t close your older accounts. Having long term credit cards/lines of credit improves your credit score
- If you know you have problems with your credit, get a free credit report, and fix it before applying for new credit cards. Credit rejections also bring down your credit score.
Learning About SF HUD / Certificate of Preferences
Sheri also briefly spoke about the SF’s HUD program and the benefits of having a certificate of preference. Though many of those with certificate of preferences in the city are aging (many date back to the 1960s), they can be passed to children and possibly to their grandchildren. So, if you are the descendent of someone with a certificate of preference (certificate giving preference to its owner in city housing / lotteries due to having being displaced from your home because of a city construction project, etc.) check with the housing authority. You may be qualified to get a certificate of preference as well.
For more information
And finally, if you’re having problems with your credit, go to a credit counselor if you’re having problems increasing your credit score. For more about finding affordable housing, improving your credit and overall financial empowerment information you can contact SFHDC at 415-822-1022. You can also attend one of their workshops. More info be found at their website at www.sfhdc.org/workshops .
For more information about upcoming events at the Western Addition Career Center, you can view our Career Center Calendar of Events at www.successcentersf.org/career-center-events/ Or call us at 415-549-7000.