HomeFirst: A Pathway to Financial Wellness

A service-learning course in which students study the social and economic benefits of homeownership while partnering with Tuscaloosa County families seeking first-time homeownership

Homeownership: A Pathway to Financial Wellness introduces students to effective strategies to combat poverty in the United States, emphasizing pathways to homeownership among low-to-moderate income populations. It explores issues faced by individuals and families experiencing poverty, the underlying causes in the racial and ethnic disparities in homeownership, and current policies affecting low-to-moderate income populations. In addition to classroom discussions, students will serve with HomeFirst as volunteer financial coaches during which they will work one-on-one with individuals and families who are seeking first-time homeownership. Students will apply course discussions and service experience to analyze obstacles to building financial stability and propose possible solutions to promote sustainable homeownership among low to moderate income populations. Students commit to attending a 6-hour financial coach training in late August and volunteering 3-4 hours per week as a financial coach. No financial background is necessary. Students pursuing any major or career interest are encouraged to join.

HomeFirst Summary: HomeFirst provides personalized financial education, goal-oriented savings assistance, and individualized support to low-to-moderate income individuals and families who are seeking first-time homeownership. HomeFirst matches clients one-on-one with volunteer financial coaches. Financial coaches are highly-motivated college students who are trained to provide financial education and assistance. Coaches assist families in reaching their financial goals, practicing new skills and behaviors, and effectively preparing for homeownership.

HomeFirst Coach Application >

Why Homeownership?  Owning a home remains the primary vehicle for building long-term wealth. A home is an important asset that encourages family stability, builds strong communities, and leads to higher life satisfaction. Despite the importance of homeownership, significant barriers prevent families from accessing this asset. Stagnant wages, minimal savings, and high living expenses combined with limited access to affordable financial products has created an environment in which many low- to moderate-income households are barred from social and economic opportunity.

For more information: Please contact Kevin Giff or Susan Kasteler, HomeFirst Course Coordinators for more information and/or to sign up.



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