November 2022 Newsletter

November 2022 Newsletter

A Message from EHA's Executive Director

Dear EHA Residents and Program Participants:

About 40 years ago, I was reading a newspaper and saw a very small announcement for a program that would allow me to come to the United States to continue my education. I had a goal of studying overseas and improving my ability to thrive and have a bright future. I responded and was offered the opportunity. This newsletter is full of information about opportunities for you.

Today, I have the honor to serve over 4,000 households who face challenges but have the opportunity to thrive in many ways. It all started with the goal to improve my education. That goal helped me find and use information that changed my life.

It is my sincere hope that you adopt the goal for you and your family to thrive and have a bright future. Some of you may be focused on merely surviving today. But all of you should lift your heads and look to where you want you and your family to be.

Read this newsletter carefully and find one or two things that provide you with the skills to thrive and achieve your goals. Maybe it is learning to budget. Or learning how to improve your credit score. Or anything that will help you move forward towards your goals. And once you have done one or two things, do something else recommended in this newsletter or in the next editions that can help you on your journey.


From Mapping Your Future

Establishing a budget and sticking to it isn’t easy, but it’s the best way to be in control of your finances and make sure your money is going toward the expenses that matter most to you.

Follow the steps below as you set up your own, personalized budget:

  • Make a list of your values. Write down what matters to you and then put your values in order.
  • Set your goals. Write down your goals. Think about what you want to accomplish financially in the next three months, the next year, and the next three years.
  • Determine your income.
    • Figure your available income (the amount of your take-home, or net, pay).
    • Do not include overtime pay, because you shouldn’t rely on that as regular income.
  • Determine your expenses.
    • Review your checkbook register, credit card statements, store receipts, and more. Where is your money really going?
    • "Fixed expenses," such as rent, auto, or student loan payments, are easy to determine.
    • "Flexible expenses," such as food, clothing, and entertainment, vary from month to month.
    • Don't forget about expenses, such as taxes or insurance, that are billed quarterly, semi-annually, or yearly.
    • Look into personal finance software programs that offer a budgeting feature to help you track these expenses. See the next page for some ideas!
  • Create your budget.
    • Think of your budget as a “spending plan,” a way to be aware of how much money you have, where it needs to go, and how much, if any, is left over.
    • Your budget should meet your "needs" first, then the “wants” that you can afford.
    • Your expenses should be less than or equal to your total income.
    • If your income is not enough to cover your expenses, adjust your budget (and your spending!) by deciding which expenses can be reduced.
  • Pay yourself first!
    • Saving is a very important part of protecting yourself financially.
    • Save as much as you can every month. Even a small amount can make a big difference if you keep it up. Check out our savings calculator to learn more.
    • A great goal is to establish an emergency savings fund starting at $500 to $1,000 to help with any unexpected events.
    • After you have an emergency fund, your savings can go toward meeting your goals.
  • Be careful with credit cards. Learn more here.
  • Check back periodically.
    • Be sure to review your budget and spending regularly.
    • Does the plan still meet your needs and help you achieve your goals? If not, make some adjustments or create a new budget that better meets your needs.

Now that you have created your budget, let's manage it! The following apps will help you keep track of your budget and save.

Type of budgeting systems:

  • Zero-Based Budgeting System - Plan for every dollar you earn
  • Envelope Budgeting System - Portion out your monthly income toward specific spending categories (envelopes)
App Key Points Notes
  • Syncs to bank accounts
  • Tracks expenses in personalized budget categories
If you want to see where every cent you spend goes, this app tracks it all
  • Based on the envelope budgeting system
  • Does not sync with bank accounts
You must enter every expense manually
  • Syncs to bank accounts and credit cards
  • Also tracks net worth
  • Option to track finance manually
Simplified app that shows how much you have left to spend after setting aside funds for necessities, bills, and goals
  • Budgeting with a partner
  • Both partners can sync bank accounts, credit cards, loans, and investments
  • Automatically categorizes expenses
Great for budgeting with a partner and getting on the same page with finances
  • Does not sync with bank accounts
  • Straightforward design - make lists of incoming and outgoing money to track balances
Because it is so simple, you have to manually log every purchase and bill
  • Track cash, accounts and debt
  • Also track your credit score
Track all of your accounts and assets, and build up your credit score

For more of a breakdown of each app, check out this summary from Nerdwallet.


From Forbes

How to Choose a Bank or Credit Union

Online banks and banking services offer many of the same account options you’d find at traditional banks. The difference is that you’re banking through a website or app versus accessing your money at a physical branch. Online banks typically charge fewer fees and offer better interest rates on deposit accounts than on traditional banks.

A credit union is a financial institution in which each account holder is a member. Typically, you need to meet certain requirements to join a credit union. Some cater exclusively to military members and their families, while others target state employees or people who live in certain geographic regions. Other credit unions are nationally available. Credit unions often charge fewer fees, and they may offer more favorable interest rates for savers and borrowers.

Which is Best for You?

If you like having access to cash, a traditional bank or larger credit union with a wide ATM network might make sense. If your primary goal is to earn interest on your money, online banks and credit unions may offer better rates than traditional banks.

Types of Bank Accounts

  • Checking Account: Place to deposit money you can use to make purchases, pay bills and withdraw cash. Because the primary use of checking accounts is spending versus saving, checking accounts tend to have lower interest rates than other accounts.
  • Savings Account: An account to deposit money you don’t plan to spend immediately. Most savings accounts pay annual percentage yields (APYs) that may fluctuate over time and vary based on the account balance.
  • Money Market Account: A money market account has features of a checking account and a savings account. Money market accounts help you earn interest on your balance—like a savings account—and they typically come with a debit card and check-writing privileges—like a checking account.
  • Certificate of Deposit (CD): A CD is a savings vehicle that allows you to deposit money for a set period of time, like one, three or five years. In most cases, you can’t access money in a CD before the end of the term without paying a penalty. Due to their lack of flexibility, CDs are best for those who won’t need access to their money right away.
  Checking Account Savings Account Money Market Account
Designed for Paying bills, making purchases, transferring money Saving for short- or long-term goals Saving, with the option to spend via debit card or check
Earns interest? The majority do not Typically, yes Typically, yes
Debit card/check access Typically, yes No Yes, depending on the financial institution
Limited withdrawals Daily ATM withdrawal or purchase limits may apply Yes, banks and credit unions may limit you to 6 withdrawals per month Yes, banks and credit unions may limit you to 6 withdrawals per month

What You Need to Open a Bank Account

While every bank is different, most usually need the following:

  • Government-issued photo ID, such as:
    • Driver's License
    • State-Issued ID Card
    • Passport
    • Birth Certificate
  • Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
  • Minimum initial deposit

A credit score is a prediction of your credit behavior, such as how likely you are to pay a loan back on time, based on information from your credit reports.

Companies use credit scores to make decisions on whether to offer you a mortgage, credit card, auto loan, and other credit products, as well as for tenant screening and insurance. They are also used to determine the interest rate and credit limit you receive. Usually a higher score makes it easier to qualify for a loan and may result in a better interest rate or loan terms. Most credit scores range from 300-850. Get a copy of your credit report here.

More Resources

Looking for other ways to help you budget or manage your finances? Or maybe you want to help a loved one manage their money or learn more about about auto loans, credit cards, or prepaid cards? Here are some sites that offer free webinars and articles to help you navigate all things financial:


From Nerdwallet

If your credit score is lower than you'd like, there may be fast ways to bring it up. Depending on what's holding it down, you may be able to tack on as many as 100 points relatively quickly. Is a 100-point increase realistic? Rod Griffin, senior director of public education and advocacy for credit bureau Experian, says yes. “The lower a person’s score, the more likely they are to achieve a 100-point increase,” he says. “That’s simply because there is much more upside, and small changes can result in greater score increases.”

Here are some strategies to quickly improve your credit:

  • Pay credit card balances strategically - A good guideline: Use less than 30% of your limit on any card, and lower is better. The highest scorers use less than 7%.
  • Ask for higher credit limits - When your credit limit goes up and your balance stays the same, it instantly lowers your overall credit utilization, which can improve your credit. If your income has gone up or you've added more years of positive credit experience, you have a decent shot at getting a higher limit.
  • Pay bills on time - No strategy to improve your credit will be effective if you pay late. Worse, late payments can stay on your credit reports for 7½ years. If you miss a payment by 30 days or more, call the creditor immediately. Pay up as soon as you can and ask if the creditor will consider no longer reporting the missed payment to the credit bureaus.
  • Dispute credit report errors - A mistake on one of your credit reports could be pulling down your score. Disputing credit report errors can help you quickly improve your credit. Use to request them and then check for mistakes, such as payments marked late when you paid on time, someone else's credit activity mixed with yours, or negative information that’s too old to be listed anymore.
  • Deal with collections accounts - Paying off a collections account removes the threat that you will be sued over the debt, and you may be able to persuade the collection agency to stop reporting the debt once you pay it. You can also remove collections accounts from your credit reports if they aren't accurate or are too old to be listed.
  • Use a secured credit card - Another way to build or rebuild your credit is with a secured credit card. This type of card is backed by a cash deposit; you pay it upfront and the deposit amount is usually the same as your credit limit. You use it like a normal credit card, and your on-time payments help build your credit.
  • Get credit for rent and utility payments - Rent reporting services can add your on-time rent payments to your credit reports. Rent payments are not considered by every scoring model — VantageScores include them but FICO 8 does not, for example. Even so, if a would-be creditor looks at your reports, rent records will be there, and a long record of consistent payments can only help.

Last month, we talked about reaching your assigned Housing Specialist or emailing We also mentioned how we will be modifying how we assign Certification Specialists. We'd like to expand on that and provide some more information.

Starting in January 2023, we will be assigning residents by zip code. Currently, our Housing Specialists are assigned residents based alphabetically by last name. There is nothing you need to do regarding this process, but we wanted to share with you as you may have a new Housing Specialist in the coming new year.


Last month, we provided tips for creating a free email account. You can view them in our past issue here.

Now that you have an email account, write professional emails in no time with the help of Grammarly, a free tool that reviews the content you write and makes suggestions to improve grammar and help you to better communicate. From word to sentence structure suggestions, Grammerly can help.

Get suggestions while you write in desktop applications and sites across the web—as you move between apps, social media, documents, messages, and emails.

FCC: Affordable Connectivity Program

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) was created by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) to help connect families and household struggling to afford internet service. HUD-assisted families automatically qualify for ACP and the subsidy is not considered income for the purpose of determining program eligibility or household rent.

The benefit provides:

  • Up to $30/month discount for internet service
  • Up to $75/month discount for household on qualifying Tribal lands
  • A one-time discount o f up to $100 for a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet purchased through a participating provider


  • Go to to submit an application or print a mail-in application
  • Contact your preferred participating provider to select an eligible plan and have the discount applied to your bill. Some providers may have an alternative application that they will ask you to complete.

Eligible household must both apply for the program and contact a participating provider to select a service plan.


The following resources are through local organizations that can assist with the upcoming holiday season:

Free Thanksgiving Meal & Thanksgiving Basket | Venture Church | Nov. 21, 6PM

Venture Church is providing a free Thanksgiving Dinner for the whole family on Monday, November 21st at 6PM through our Celebrate Recovery Ministry. We invite anyone from the community to attend this dinner where we will also be handing out free Thanksgiving Baskets. Each basket includes a gift card for a turkey (or other meat), stuffing, potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans (& crispy onions), rolls, & cranberry sauce. Each basket feeds approximately a family of 6.

Reserve your spot & basket here.

Free Family Thanksgiving Dinner with All the Trimmings | Westgate Chapel | Nov. 24, 11AM, 1:30PM, 3:30PM (No Reservations Needed)

22901 Edmonds Way, Edmonds, WA 98020 | 425-775-2776

Children’s Crafts & Gifts, Bingo, Family Photos, Food & Clothing Bank, Deaf Interpretation (3:30pm only), Chance to win a FIRE HD Plus Tablet (8th generation) at the 11am seating, Drawings for $75 Gift Cards and other Great Prizes at all three seatings

Maverick Cares - Harvest Holiday | Multiple Locations | Pickup: Nov. 22, 3PM

Maverick Cares will be giving away 4000 holiday meals - each will feed a family of four. Pick up is easy! Bring your ticket to the location you selected as closest to your home and we'll hand you your bag. Sign up and select your pickup location here.

Free Food Pickup | Modest Family Solutions

18122 Bothell Way NE, Bothell WA 98011

Four days of pick up at the Modest Produce Stand Thursday to Sunday. Schedule to redeem a coupon for a free fresh produce box here.

Everett Food Bank | Open Daily M/W/F: 10AM-2PM, 2nd & 4th Tuesday: 3-6PM

1230 Broadway, Everett, WA 98201| 425-259-3191

There are no eligibility or documentation requirements to receive food at any VOAWW food banks or pantries. Note: In the event of inclement weather, we observe the same emergency school closures and snow days as Everett Public Schools.



1st Saturday Community Paint Party

Saturday, November 5 | Paws with Cause - Everett Mall | 11:30AM-1PM | FREE

Help paint pet portraits. All supplies and instructions are provided upon arrival. You will receive a sketch of a pet in a local shelter, on a canvas, and be guided on how to turn that blank canvas into a masterpiece that we will display at one of our 25 mini gallery locations around the area.

Hope Holiday Bazaar

Saturday, November 12 | Everett Mall | 11AM-7PM

Come and enjoy our Hope Holiday Bazaar as we fill the Everett Mall with so many great gifts, home décor and body care.

Renter Certification & Fair Housing Training

Wednesday, November 16 | Verdant Health Commission | 4710 196th St. SW, Lynnwood
Wednesday, November 30 | Carnegie Resource Center | 3001 Oakes Avenue, Everett
1-3:30PM | Free (No registration required)

Are you familiar with your rights and responsibilities? Do you have a problematic rental history or are not sure why you’re being denied housing? Taught by specialists in the Landlord-Tenant and Fair Housing field, this training will help you answer those questions, as well as provide community resources to assist in securing conflict-free housing. All participants receive a certificate upon completion that boosts their rental resume. Successful completion of class also entitles Snohomish County residents and rental providers to one free Landlord-Tenant Mediation.

The more tenants and landlords are familiar with their rights and responsibilities, the easier it will be for both to ensure their needs are met.

Apprenticeship & Career Job Fair

Thursday, November 17 | Sno-Isle Tech Skills Center | 4PM-7PM | FREE

Apprenticeships are a combination of structured, paid, on-the-job training plus college-level classroom instruction. Meet 20+ apprenticeships organizations during Sno-Isle's National Apprenticeship Week Celebration. Enjoy free food and hands-on activities for all ages! Register here.

Sno-Isle Libraries Events

LEGO Brick Building | Lynnwood Library | Tuesday, Nov. 8 | 4:30PM

Do you want to fine tune your spending, reduce your debt, or save more money? This webinar teaches principles, practices and skills of good money management that will make your financial life easier and help you reach your goals. Come and learn how to create your personalized spending plan. Register here.

Baby Storytime with Alisa | Mukilteo Library | Thursday, Nov. 17 | 10:30AM

Wiggle, giggle and bond with your baby through stories, happy songs, rhymes, and activities that inspire a love of reading. Only one registration per family is needed. Register here.

Youth Book Café | Lynnwood Library | Friday, Nov. 18 | 4:30PM

Come chat about books with us, enjoy some snacks, and participate in a fun activity! Thanks to Friends of the Lynnwood Library, every participant (birth to 18 years old) can choose two free books to build their home libraries.

See all events at all Sno-Isle Libraries here.

Holly Jolly Holiday Market

Friday & Saturday, November 25-26 | Thomas Family Farm | 10AM-4PM 

With more than 120 vendors, food trucks/vendors, and an appearance from Santa this is an event you wont want to miss! FREE Admission, open to all ages. More information here.


Better Budgeting | Tuesday, Nov. 15 | 7PM

Do you want to fine tune your spending, reduce your debt, or save more money? This webinar teaches principles, practices and skills of good money management that will make your financial life easier and help you reach your goals. Come and learn how to create your personalized spending plan. Register here.

How to Talk to Your Parents About Their Finances | Thursday, Nov. 17 | 1PM

If something happened to your parents, would you be able to step in and help them with their finances? Do you know where they bank, or how they pay their bills? Do they have wills? Have they named you power of attorney so you can manage their finances if they can't? You need answers to these questions and more before a crisis strikes. During this webinar, you'll learn how to have essential conversations with your parents about their finances. Register here.

Teaching Kids Financial Responsibility | Thursday, Nov. 17 | 7PM

This webinar will help you teach your kids important financial tips to enhance their knowledge about financial responsibility from the importance of savings to smart shopping. Register here.