Welcome Sonya Dease!
Dundalk Renaissance’s Housing and Financial Counselor
Dundalk Renaissance is excited to announce the expansion of our work in Housing and Financial Counseling. Our team now includes a full-time, dedicated counselor and financial coach, Sonya Dease. Since 2014 we have assisted hundreds of home buyers throughout their home ownership journey and provided more than 125 households with deferred, forgivable loans to help them buy into Dundalk. Now with Sonya on our team, we will be able to provide financial guidance and aid individuals and families on their financial fitness journey, helping them create lifelong stability wherever they go.
Sonya brings a deeper level of expertise and will offer a broader scope of services, that includes working with prospective home buyers; working with people who may already own a home but are struggling financially; and working with those who aren’t ready, or may never choose to be a home owner, but who want to be more in control of their lives. She’s working on new classes to help individuals and families get financially fit. Sonya will also act as a financial coach, helping individuals and families build budgets that work for them, identifying areas for improvement and helping to improve credit scores—all for free. Those seeking Sonya’s services are encouraged to make an appointment online or by phone (410.282.0261 ext 107).
When she first meets with clients, Sonya usually starts by discussing and building out a budget that works for them, setting financial goals and creating an action plan. “There’s no point in giving clients a budget that they didn’t have input in creating. That budget isn’t going to work for them. They’re going to get discouraged when they can’t stick to it.” Instead, Sonya asks her clients to bring their most recent bank statement to verify income and spending habits. Clients are encouraged to think about how they spend before arriving at the meeting so they can work with Sonya on their budget. “We’re going to have some uncomfortable conversations, but there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Struggles with finances are common and everyone could benefit from learning new techniques to get the financial results they want.”
After their initial meeting, Sonya will follow up every 30 days to check in and help keep her clients on track. “Financial fitness isn’t a short-term project. Sometimes I’m going to call a client and they’re not going to report any new changes to their credit report. But there will be strength gained in managing their finances. They’re confident when making new purchases, large and small, because they know what’s in their budget and the financial impact of the decision.” It’s all about building a solid financial foundation to help clients move forward in the future.
Sonya brings with her 12 years of working in financial services in banking institutions—including two years of financial counseling at Operation Hope (www.operationhope.org). She is a Frostburg alumnus and received her MBA from the University of Maryland. Sonya does this work because she likes to be able to help people take control of their finances and help them fulfill personal goals like buying a home. “Banks always provide general denial reasons, but I can take it a step further. I can provide the guidance and foundation they need to get approved in the future.”
When Sonya’s not at work she enjoys spending time with friends and family, taking vacations to preferred beach destinations, and reading a good novel.
If you’re interested in learning more about how Sonya can help you on your financial fitness journey, reach out to her 410.282.0261 ext 107 or email Sonya@DundalkUSA.org. You visit https://sonya-dundalkrenaissance.youcanbook.me/ to schedule a counseling session. Due to COVID 19, our staff is not taking in person meetings at this time. All meetings will be held via Zoom or telephone.