The JP UP Date: JP Client Builds Credit and Small Business Success

Andrew BarnesThe JP UP date

Number 243                        October 6, 2023                                   St. Louis


Hispanic American Heritage Client Spotlight: From Building Credit to Building a New Restaurant

Victor Arellano always had entrepreneurial aspirations. Growing up in Mexico, his family owned and operated a resturant and bar. He always considered it would be a significant accomplishment if he could one day do the same. A string of chance opportunities began to make that dream a reality. Victor and his wife, Gabriela, were living in Detroit when Gabriela’s mother, who lived in the St. Louis area, became ill. The couple would come into town often to help care for her, and started to become more acquainted with the area. Pretty quickly Victor started to believe St. Louis would be a perfect place for him to open a restaurant. He decided to leave Detroit and do just that. Early into the process, Victor ran into his first big challenge: not having established credit. Victor says he had the mentality that many immigrants have in that “if you want something, you pay for it in cash, or you don’t buy it.” So while Victor had a decent amount of money saved, not having established credit history made it difficult to move forward with the process. Gabriela, who was still in Detroit at the time, knew of organizations there that would help with credit building, and even provide financial services to those who were in the process of doing so. She figured St. Louis must have similar organizations, which led them to find Justine PETERSEN. After securing a small business microloan from JP, Victor opened Don Emilianos in O’Fallon, MO. In addition to operating the successful restaurant, Victor continued to be diligent with his finances, and in 2021 decided to purchase the building their restaurant was located in. This decision wound up paying dividends when only a year later they were approached by interested buyers of the building, who they eventually sold to. While Victor achieved his dream of owning a restaurant, he’s not done yet. In June he broke ground for a new building in Dardenne Prairie, MO that will soon be home to Señor Pancho’s Cantina. Victor wants others to know the success he’s found is possible for them to. “If they’re willing to ask for help.” He admits he initially struggled coming to JP to ask for assistance. He’s found though that in accepting the resources available to him, he’s grown a network of trusted partners and organizations. These partners are helping to make this second venture a lot more easier of a process. “It’s also going to be a lot less lonely.” Be sure to keep a lookout for Victor’s Señor Pancho’s Cantina to open soon!

JP Counselor Receives NCHEC Certification

Justine PETERSEN is proud to announce that Asset Building and HUD Certified Counselor, Tyler Janssen recently received his NCHEC Certification! NCHEC (Neighborworks Center for Homeownership Education and Counseling) is an organization that offers various certifications aligned with the National Industry Standards set by Neighborworks and HUD. Tyler’s certification focuses on Homeownership Counseling, which will allow him to provide in-depth one-on-one counseling throughout a client’s entire homeownership process. This process begins with assessing homeownership readiness, goes through developing a budget, creating a savings plan, credit building, calculating income and affordability, to the final stages of fair housing, mortgage regulations, and closing. In August, Tyler spent a week in Chicago at the Neighborworks Training Institute, which consisted of all day classes. After spending the week at the Institute, Tyler took two exams over the topics covered, where an 80% or higher was required on each to pass. Tyler passed with flying colors – over 90% on both! With this certification, Tyler is looking forward to supporting more clients achieve housing stability, whether through homeownership or otherwise. As Tyler says, “access to affordable housing is something I am very passionate about, and this certification allows me to provide a gateway to various resources for the people we serve.” For clients looking to start the homeownership process, Tyler advises keeping patience, perseverance, and discipline with the housing market we’re in. “It’s a different market than it was two years ago. It takes the patience to find a house that you’re interested in, perseverance to not always get your first, or even your third choice, and discipline to make sure that your financial capacity is able to withstand the homebuying process.” Many congratulations to Tyler, and we look forward to continue serving more clients in their homeownership dreams.









JP Honors Breast Cancer Patients and Survivors This October

Justine PETERSEN is thinking pink this October! In honor of the many breast cancer patients and survivors we call clients, partners, friends and family – thank you for inspiring us with your determination and resilience.

Credit Cue: The Golden Rule
Contributed by Andrew Barnes and Tatiana Gillum

The 50/30/20 budget rule is a popular and straightforward budgeting framework that can help individuals manage their finances effectively. It allocates your income income into three broad categories: 50% needs, 30% wants, and 20% savings/investments, each representing the total of your income. Here are the benefits of using the 50/30/20 budget rule:

  1. Balance: This budgeting approach encouraged a balanced financial life. By dividing your income into needs, wants, and savings, it ensures that you meet essential expenses, enjoy some discretionary spending, save for the future simultaneously.
  2. Prioritization of needs: The 50% allocated to needs covers essentials such as housing, utilities, groceries, transportation, and insurance. This ensures that your most critical expenses are taken care of first.
  3. There something we all want: The 30% allocated to wants allows for flexibility in your spending. This category covers non-essential expenses like dining out, entertainment, shopping, and hobbies so you can still have some room to enjoy life without overspending.
  4. Savings and investments: The 20% allocated to savings and investments helps you build financial security and wealth over time. You can use this portion of your income to save for emergencies, pay off debt, invest for retirement, or achieve other long-term financial goals

It’s important to note that while the 50/30/20 rule is a useful framework, individual financial situations may vary. Some people may need to allocate more or less to certain categories based on factors like their income, location, and financial goals. Therefore, it’s essential to adapt the rule to your unique circumstances, and regularly review and adjust your budget as needed to stay on track toward your financial objectives. To learn more about how to take these steps and others with your credit, schedule time with Justine PETERSEN Asset Building Manager, Tatiana Gillum.

Consumers Council Annual Fundraiser: October 29th

Come out and support the Consumers Council of Missouri on Sunday, October 29th at the Ethical Society of St. Louis from 4pm – 6pm. This year’s fundraiser will be honoring Joyce Armstrong for her contributions as a co-founder of Counsumers Council and long-time board member, as well as Ollie Stewart, Executive Director of Southside Wellness Center. The program will be moderated by Ray Hartmann, and include beer, wine, soft drinks and light hors d’oeuvres. All proceeds go to supporting advocacy for consumers’ interests locally, regionally, and statewide. Tickets can be purchased here.

Grants Available for North St. Louis Small Business and Non-Profits

Applications are now open for the North St. Louis Small Business and Non-Profit Grant Program. The program, through St. Louis Development Corporation (SLDC) intends to reverse the the impact of disinvestment in this particular geographic area by disbursing $37 million of Coronavirus State and Local Recovery Funds (SLFRF). Interested applicants should visit this website.









Resources Available for Missouri Tenants

Mortgage Assistance for Illinois Homeowners

As a HUD certified counseling agency, Justine PETERSEN is here to support. We encourage anyone interested in learning more about mortgage assistance and the application process to contact us by emailing All applications must be in by October 31st. More information can also be found here.

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Justine Petersen Housing and Reinvestment Corporation · 1023 N Grand Blvd · Saint Louis, MO 63106-1641 · USA