MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- It's said that owning a home is part of the "American Dream."
That dream can be a nightmare for persons with low incomes or low credit scores.
But a Memphis-based organization called the Rise Foundation is turning that dream into reality through a unique program.
"And just to know that it's your home...it's WOW...I did it for me and my family."
It's a feeling "first-time" homeowner Priscilla Canada is excited to share.
A year ago the single mom would never have believed home ownership could become a reality.
Now her three-year-old daughter Morgan has a big bedroom of her own.
Priscilla is proud of her renovated kitchen, and both love their spacious, shady backyard in Southeast Memphis.
"Being a homeowner gives you a confidence," said Priscilla.
Priscilla was able to make the down payment and move in thanks to the Rise Foundation's "Save Up" program.
"It's an incentive-based program that helps low-income families know that they can save, regardless of how low their income is," said Linda Williams, Pres. and CEO of the Rise Foundation.
"Save up" applicants undergo six weeks of financial education. They learn to manage their money by opening a bank account and making scheduled deposits thus improving their credit score.
"You had to commit to how much money you were going to put in the account. They had a limit of seventy-five dollars because they wanted to make sure you were actually following your budget and able to save," said Priscilla.
But Williams said "Save Up" goes one step better.
"In that savings program, we match every dollar they save with two dollars, up to a thousand. Which means they can have three thousand dollars towards a purchase," said Williams.
So far in 2016 there have been five homes purchased through "Save Up." But the program's matching funds can also be used for vehicles and even computers for starting a small business from home.
For Priscilla and Morgan, their new home provides a feeling of happiness and freedom they never thought possible.
"A good home environment. A place where we can make memories...it's ours," said Priscilla Canada.
To get more information on the Rise Foundation and their "Save Up" program, call 901-507-6644 or visit their website.