Winter 2020 Newsletter

HomeOwnership IS for Everyone

In the dead of winter in January of 2014, I got a call from a lady who was heating her one-bedroom apartment with her oven because her heating unit went out and the landlord had not gotten around to fixing it. She later sent me pictures of the walls revealing a severely leaking roof and black mold that had taken over the place. It had destroyed many of her possessions and was affecting her health. She had several health concerns and a physical disability, which restricted her ability to work and restricted her income. She made slightly less than $850 per month in Social Security Disability Insurance. She felt her only real friend in the world was her dog and that outside help was not a legitimate option.

Her monthly payment, not including utilities for that dilapidated one-bedroom apartment, was $350. That’s more than 40% of her monthly income going to pay a landlord for living in a place that is a health hazard! Include utilities (especially when she’s heating the place with the oven) and she was paying nearly 80% of her monthly income!

Looking at her situation with outside eyes, it appears her situation is a lost cause, right? She can barely pay for housing, let alone anything else. She surely doesn’t have money to put aside for a deposit on another place. She can’t move by herself because she’s physically disabled and she has no family or close friends, so there’s no one to help her move. To say she has limited options for the future is an understatement.

I am the Director of the division of Pathfinder Services called the HomeOwnership Center. HomeOwnership is the key word there. So, why was she calling us? She had a vision for a better future. She was tired of letting her past and current circumstances hold her down. She was going to buy a house.

After four months of pinching even more pennies than she already had been and following financial advice from members of my team, she saved enough to pay for the appraisal, first year of homeowner’s insurance, and an inspection. She negotiated for the seller to handle the remaining purchase costs.

In early June, just six months after our initial conversation, she moved into a modest, but safe home of her own. It was about 800 square feet with one bedroom, one bathroom, and a fully functional heating and cooling system.

Not only did it suit her needs, but it was a safe place to live and it was $100+ less per month than what she was paying for rent. No joke. She went from using 80% of her income for housing to now less than 40%. Best of all, it was hers. It even had a fenced in backyard for her dog to run freely. At nearly 60-years-old, disabled, with an extremely limited income, she was able to shove aside all barriers and relentlessly push her way into her American Dream.

Do you still think you or others you know can’t buy a home? I’m here to tell you, very kindly and with the best intentions, you’re wrong. If you or someone you know wants it, call us or visit our website to create your account. It will take some hard work and some time, but with Pathfinder HOC – HomeOwnership Is Possible.