From living on the streets to being financially saavy

Marcos Torres is a client that can be described by many words. Determined. Strong. A go-getter. But one word rises to the surface: modest.  He’s a man who bounced from apartment to apartment and lived on the streets for 25 years. A recovering alcoholic. A man who says, “I know what it is to have nothing.”

And yet, here he is, on the brink of homeownership – defeating the odds, and not realizing how truly amazing his success story is.

Mr. Torres came to Trellis after hearing about our services from his pastor. He never looked into establishing credit, and although he wanted to buy a house, he found himself in debt. After working with Brenda Lopez, our Director of HomeOwnership, Mr. Torres has now established credit.

“I’m really proud of Marcos,” commented Brenda.  “He went from no credit score, to a strong credit score.”

As if establishing credit was not a big enough success, Mr. Torres has also managed to save in an Independent Development Account (IDA) that Brenda helped him set up.

“It’s the most money I’ve ever saved,” said Mr. Torres.

Through the IDA program, Mr. Torres’ savings will be matched 3-to-1 after saving for ten months. That means in the near future, Mr. Torres will have $15,000 to put towards a down payment.

Let’s add another triumph to his list of accomplishments. Mr. Torres has now held his same landscaping job for two years, and just took his first-ever paid vacation.

Brenda feels confident that Mr. Torres is ready to buy a home, whenever he feels he’s ready. Right now, he’s not in a rush, and wants to continue saving — but insists the first person he will invite to his home is his Trellis financial coach, Brenda.

So, what advice would Mr. Torres give to others in a similar situation? Mr. Torres took his time with this question. He shrugged his shoulders, as a little grin grew on his face. And all he said was, “Just do it.”


What do you think of Mr. Torres’ story? Share your thoughts with us!