“I have $300 more each month thanks to JobLinks Financial Opportunity Center”

Wesley_Allen_JobLinks_Financial_Opportunity_CenterIt could happen to any of us. Wesley Allen suffered a major accident while on the job. While waiting to process disability claims, his bank account dwindled, and he fell behind on his bills.

A single dad of three, Wesley’s wife passed away years ago from complications from sickle cell disease. His children were only 2, 5 and 7.

Wesley is a tenant at one of OPDC’s rental properties here in Oakland. When he fell behind on rent, our Real Estate Manager referred him to OPDC’s Financial Coach, Shay Port.

Shay begins with every client by doing a full financial scan. She looks at the client’s income and expenses and runs the numbers against eligibility criteria for local and federal income supports. She immediately found that Wes was eligible for CAP and LIHEAP, utility assistance programs.

“I didn’t even know lowering my utility bills was an option,” Wesley said.

Then, Shay helped Wesley make decisions on where he could make lifestyle changes to further reduce his bills.

“The goal with every client is better money management. We start by making a basic budget and always learn many things from there,” Shay said. “With Wesley, I noticed immediately that he was overpaying for his cable and internet.”

Wesley_Allen_and_Shay_Port_JobLinks“Between helping me with the cable provider, and connecting me to the gas and electric savings, I’ve lowered my expenses by $300 a month,” Wesley told us. “Instead of being in the negative, I am in the positive every month.”

The next step was navigating Wesley’s union benefits and long-term disability claim. “I was so confused by it all,” Wesley said. “It’s a long, complicated process. Shay helped me work with the union representatives we learned I was eligible for early pension. I never would have realized some of these things without her help.”

“JobLinks has helped me in so many ways throughout my life. Years ago, they helped me get my resume/ cover letter together and taught me how to search for jobs online. “

He added, “I know I am blessed.”

Shay will reconvene with Wesley once his union benefits kick in to make a revised budget.  She works with all her clients on a long-term basis to ensure they become financially stronger every year.

“Financial responsibilities never end, unfortunately,” Shay said. “Our goal is to stay in touch with all our clients on an ongoing basis and set new goals every time we reach a new milestone.”

If you want to change your own financial outlook, contact Shay Port at 412.621.3821 x25 or sport@joblinks.opdc.org.