Proud to be a Homeowner

Transitional housing leads to financial independence for single mom

Karrie Schmanski found financial peace of mind with help from the Pathfinder HomeOwnership Center.

Until Karrie Schemansky encountered the Pathfinder HomeOwnership Center and its transitional housing program, she had always relied on assistance from family or friends for her daily living needs. Today, thanks to the support she received through Pathfinder Services, Karrie is a proud homeowner and totally self-sufficient mother of two. She admits her path from homelessness to homeowner was anything but easy; nevertheless, she credits Pathfinder Services with giving her the strength and tools she needed to make such a drastic—and positive—change.

It all started when Karrie found herself homeless after the birth of her first child. “There I was,” she remembers, “a stay-at-home mom with no car, no job, and no home!” Karrie’s family lived out of state, and she didn’t know where to turn. That’s when she encountered Beth Stevens, family self-sufficiency coordinator for Pathfinder Community Connections. Beth helped Karrie apply for Pathfinder’s Transitional Housing program, and soon she was living in her own apartment.

Learning Financial Independence

“I was on my own for the very first time,” says Karrie, “but I didn’t know how to be self-sufficient.” Thankfully, Beth had a solution for that, too. She helped Karrie learn how to track her expenses, live by a budget, and get a job. “I didn’t want to work at McDonald’s,” admits Karrie, “but they were the only ones who called me back. In the end, it was the best thing that ever happened to me.” Over the course of the next two years, she completed her Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training and graduated from Pathfinder’s two-year Transitional Housing program. “The first time I got my utility bills in my name,” she says, “it felt really good, because I knew I had just lived on my own for a whole year.”

Unfortunately, Karrie’s troubles didn’t end there. After spending a total of $4,000 to fix a $2,500 car, Karrie approached Pathfinder Services again. With help from Pathfinder’s car-loan program, she ended up with her first reliable transportation, a van she still drives today.

Steps toward Home Ownership

Child-care assistance and Early Head Start programming, free tax preparation services, and financial fitness classes all played a role in Karrie’s financial freedom. For Karrie, that freedom culminated in purchasing her own home.

Through a Pathfinder Individual Development Account (IDA), along with her car loan, Karrie built up the credit and savings she needed to make homeownership a reality. “I would never have been able to get to this point without Pathfinders. I’m so grateful for the help I have received. It really changed my life.”


If you or someone you know is struggling to achieve financial stability, contact us today. Our programs can provide peace of mind — and help realize the dream of homeownership.