Compass Working Capital

Akirah reaches her goal of becoming a homeowner

Jul 31, 2023

With the help of Compass Working Capital’s leverage of the FSS program, Akirah was able to build savings and get access to resources to reach her goals.

average increase in earnings for Compass Working Capital participants

Akirah Pressley is a Special Education Assistant for the Philadelphia School District. She lives and works in Philadelphia, where she was born and raised, graduating from Parkway West High School as a teenage mother. Akirah spent her early career years working for daycares, retail companies, and home health care facilities before transitioning to helping children with educational and medical needs.

In 2018, after GreenLight Fund brought Compass Working Capital to Philadelphia in partnership with Clarify and the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA), Akirah joined the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program as one of the first participants. A few weeks after enrolling, Akirah, who was full of potential, promise and passion spoke at a GreenLight event.

“I am 26 years old, and have moved over 20 times in my lifetime. That is one reason why my main goal in this program is to become a homeowner. I want a place called my own, and the stability that owning a home can give. The other reason I want to own a home is my son. He will be 9 years old next month. I don’t want him to go through the same things that I had to go through. I want him to have a place that he can point to and say ‘this is where I grew up’. I believe that everyone deserves a chance and an opportunity to do better, and there are a lot of people in Philadelphia who are looking for a program like this.”

While in the program, Akirah began to increase her income through work. She learned about budgeting, credit and debt. While working with the School District of Philadelphia, Akirah’s love for children grew. This led to her becoming a foster parent.

Throughout her participation in the FSS program, she was connected with additional resources. She was chosen to participate in the Women’s Way Change the Narrative Fellowship program in 2021. The fellowship trains and empowers women with the lived experience of economic insecurity to share their personal stories through professional-level audio, visual, and print.

Additionally she was able to participate in United Way’s IDA match-saving program, PHA Philly Seed’s program, and the First Front Door Grant program. Those resources combined with the funds she had saved over her time in the FSS program helped her achieve her goal of homeownership.

In August of 2021, Akirah graduated from the FSS program and bought her first home. Like so many other FSS participants, she has come so far in such a short amount of time thanks to the investment of the GreenLight Fund.