Breaking the Chains The Importance of Financial Literacy for Homeless Young Women

Financial literacy is a key component of empowerment, especially for homeless young omen. At Project Kompass, we understand the revolutionary power of financial education and its powerful impact on young women striving to break the cycle of poverty and achieve financial freedom. So does Nixvelisse Andino, Financial Wellness Specialist of Jeanne D’arc Credit Union, one of Project Kompass’ strongest community supporters. “Financial literacy is important for everyone, but especially for women,” writes Andino, “There is a weaker earning power causing bigger financial gaps in employment which makes being financially independent a lot more challenging. There are other factors such as bearing children that can also interfere with the financial plan of a woman as commonly women are made the primary caretakers in their roles. It is important to educate oneself on money management and making smart financial decisions to equip women with the financial power to live stable financial lives. The independence of a woman is also important and should be encouraged as one can never be too prepared.” Nixvelisse, “Nix” has played a pivotal role in equipping Project Kompass’ residents with the knowledge and skills needed to navigate the complexities of personal finance to pave the way to a brighter future, and has been offering workshops on a monthly basis since the beginning of the year, covering topics such as budgeting, credit, and financial goal setting. Additionally, Nix is able to offer these workshops bilingually in English and Spanish, reaching all of Project Kompass’ residents

What is financial wellness?

According to Nix, financial wellness means “financial security and financial freedom of choice in the present and future”, something that residents of Project Kompass continue to strive for. Residents of Project Kompass have taken a strong liking to Nix, not just for her friendly demeanor and engaging personality, but also for her shared lived experiences. “Coming from a low-income and single-parent household, I can relate to a lot of the disadvantages and challenges those experience,” Nix explained. “I can empathize with wanting to do more for yourself but not knowing where to start or having footsteps to follow. The topic of money can be stressful and without the right guidance or education, it is easy to struggle.” An overwhelming majority of residents at Project Kompass have similar backstories to Nix, coming from single-parent households or lacking guidance and education to navigate personal finances, which have left them struggling to keep up with the demands of rising housing costs. In contrast, others have struggled to keep up with taxes they were never taught about, such as excise and health insurance tax. Despite not having this essential support growing up, Nix is determined to be this north star for the residents of Project Kompass: “I want to be able to offer peace of mind and be a reliable resource and support to those who seek to take control of their lives and change it for the better.”

How does Project Kompass know that this partnership with Jeanne D’arc Credit Union is making an impact on its residents? 

Recently, a resident of Project Kompass was able to graduate from the program and move into a private, market-rate apartment in Sommerville, MA, after having saved over $7,000 in less than a year. Additionally, another resident was able to utilize the skills learned during JDCU’s financial workshops and create a budget that allowed her to pay off several thousands of dollars in debt and create a dedicated housing-savings plan. This resident, another recent graduate of Project Kompass, highlighted the importance of “learning the difference between needs and wants” as a key factor to her financial freedom. Now, she has moved on from transitional housing and is renting an apartment with a friend, having recently purchased her own vehicle and improving her credit score from the low 400s to the upper 600s. These two residents are just some of the success stories that Project Kompass and Jeanne D’arc Credit Union are proud to share. Every month, more residents resonate with Nixvelisse Andino’s empowering message of financial wellness, and strive to break free of the cycle of poverty they have been chained to for so long. As we continue our partnership with Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union, we’re committed to expanding access to financial education and empowerment for homeless young women. Through workshops, one-on-one counseling sessions, and ongoing support, we’re equipping our residents with the skills and confidence they need to thrive in all aspects of their lives. Financial literacy matters—it’s a fundamental building block for economic empowerment and social mobility. Together with Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union, we’re working towards a future where every homeless young woman has the knowledge, skills, and resources needed to achieve financial independence and build a brighter future for themselves and their communities.