Here are just a few stories of the many examples of the ways ESOP has helped people all stages of life achieve and maintain financial wellness and housing stability.




A tax refund can be an opportunity to get ahead financially – as long as unscrupulous tax preparers don’t take a big bite out of your refund! That’s what happened to Kelly, who has full-care of her two grandchildren. Fortunately, this year Kelly skipped the shady storefront tax prep and came to ESOP to file her taxes for free, which saved her $700 in unnecessary fees.


Credit Counseling


To care for her adult son who is disabled and lives with her, Mary took out $2,900 in payday loans and incurred more than $13,000 in credit card debt, which was crushing her. ESOP first made sure Mary and her son could meet their basic needs by helping them receive eligible benefits. Then we created a budget and reduced her expenses, including paying off the payday loans and credit cards by obtaining a zero-interest loan. Mary has cut up her credit cards and has found financial peace.


Financial Empowerment Coaching


ESOP helped Ricardo get approved for an auto loan hardship program, reducing his car payment from $267 to $125. In just four short months, Ricardo went from a $165 deficit each month to a $77 surplus. Ricardo is working with his Financial Empowerment Coach toward his next goals of lowering his car insurance premium and obtaining renter's insurance.


Foreclosure Prevention


Crisis is not new to James. His wife died in 2010. In 2014, his employer merged with another company, ultimately downsizing his position and further reducing his income. Soon afterward, he began to fall behind on his mortgage. He came to ESOP when his home was in foreclosure. Through ESOP’s housing counseling process, his housing costs were reduced by 16%, and his mortgage payment reduced to $728.86 per month, which brought his debt-to-income ratio down to an affordable range of 31%. Now that he is no longer facing a crisis, he is transitioning into the coaching model where he defines his own goals and path to financial security.




Sharon works every day to help homeless veterans suffering from PTSD. Then one day she found herself in their shoes. Shortly after leaving the hospital after a long struggle with Stage 4 cancer, Sharon’s home burned down. She and her three children were left with no place to live. They eventually moved into a relative’s home that had no heat. Then Sharon came to ESOP Realty. Agents helped her find a condo in Slavic Village that was safe and functional for her children and that she can afford to sustain over time. Now she has hope for a stable future, is building equity to pass on to her children, and her children have a safe place to call home and make lasting memories every day.


FINANCIAL Counseling


An endless cycle of payday loans was causing James physical stress and illness. His income is just over $3,200 a month, yet he struggled to make ends meet because of his continuously growing payday loan expenses. He worked with his Financial Empowerment Coach to look at other ways to cut spending and budget more
effectively. With the help of his coach, he applied for an interest-free loan from ESOP’s partner, the Hebrew Free Loan Association (HFLA), to pay his payday loans in full. He was approved and saw his monthly payment to HFLA drop to $133.00 – a 64% reduction from the monthly payment he was making to the payday lender.




Testimonials from clients and partners