Resident Highlight:
Nettie Bond
Nettie Bond

Meet Nettie Bond

Nettie Bond is living a life most people only dream of: She is debt-free.

The exact moment her debt dropped to zero is etched in her mind: January 3, 2023, the day she paid off her last bill in the amount of $81.93. Ms. Bond had been paying $25 per month through a bill-consolidation plan, which was all she could afford on a
monthly basis. But she was determined to begin the year not owing anything to anyone. “I said, I don’t care if I don’t have any money left at all. I paid the whole $81.93 in full,” said Ms. Bond.

Although her outstanding debt was less than $1,000, living on a fixed income didn’t give the former Tidewater Gardens resident much money to pay outstanding medical bills, past due utility bills, and back rent. At the encouragement of her People FirstUSI family support specialist, Ms. Bond worked with a financial agent at The Up Center to consolidate her bills, pay the debt, and build credit.

Ms. Bond, 62, had lived in Tidewater Gardens for 11 years before moving out in September 2021, when construction began to redevelop the community. When she went to The Up Center for financial advice, she learned that some of the $1,000 she thought she owed had been erased after seven years. That dropped her debt to $595.93, which she planned to pay off in $25 monthly increments.

“Sometimes, if I had a little extra, I paid $50,” Ms. Bond said.

When she accomplished her goal of paying off her bills, Ms. Bond and her counselor at The Up Center contacted the three major credit bureaus to update her credit score. She also managed to save $300 for emergencies. Now Ms. Bond is ready to tackle another goal of getting her GED, something she’s wanted to do since she dropped out of high school in 10th grade.

“My mom was going through difficult times and was working two jobs, so I had to stay home to help take care of my sisters and brothers,” said Ms. Bond, referring to her four siblings. She also wants to purchase her first car. “While I’m sitting here waiting for my transcript, I’m studying for my driver’s license. I’ve got a bus ticket, but I’m getting me a car,” she said with excitement. “I know how to be responsible and independent and pay my bills like I’m supposed to.”