After 20 years of working harder and harder just to scrape by and provide for my family, everything caved in and working harder just didn’t cut it. We hit rock bottom and I lost my foothold on what was our “normal”. Hand to mouth living had come to an end and we found ourselves without a roof over our heads. It was here in the darkness that I learned to let go of negative thoughts and low expectations. It was in this moment that clarity got through to me and showed me the kindness the world is ready and willing to offer if I chose to accept it. So, now I think why did I allow so much suffering for so long? Well who the hell knows, I am so happy to be out of that mindset and love the ability to see the world working on our behalf. I probably should say I am going with the grain instead of against it now.
Here was my plan, I was certain that I would remedy our plight and took on a new dream of being a homeowner within 5 years. I decided that sleep was overrated, I wasn’t getting any anyway, and I needed to act now while I was healthy and still young enough to put in the hours to obtain this grand dream. Working 2 jobs and not spending any unnecessary money was my start. No cell phone, no cable, no car, and we limited anything else that just was not needed for just over 2 years. Our modest savings would not do much as a down payment all by itself but luckily, I learned about a program that helped with saving for BIG dreams, like going to university, owning a small business and of course, yes – yes owning your own home.
An Individual Development Account is a matching savings account that rewards low-income people for saving for these three major goals. The homeownership program pays out the highest in dividends 3:1/ For every one dollar I saved they would award me three to go towards the purchase of my home and I could save up to a maximum of five thousand dollars equaling a whopping twenty grand! Now my story takes a twist and my five-year plan was accelerated. I was attending an informational class given by an organization that helps people become homeowners in a nontraditional fashion. What, say you!?!?!
I wanted this opportunity and listened well only to hear things that would disqualify me as a candidate. After the class, I made my way up to the speaker and assisted her with gathering her pamphlets and such. I chatted a bit and then I remember saying oh too bad I do not fit all the requirements, and she paused. She told me that the difference between them and a mainstream home purchase with a commercial lending institution was that they were the mortgage provider. She went on to explain that every applicant is different and the opportunity could still be available. She suggested that I write a letter about my circumstances and why I was where I was and what my plans were for the future. Almost in tears, happy tears, I left to go write and write some more. I was sharing every detail and every plan I had already worked out in my head. I sent the letter to the committee and waited patiently. Then I received a call to fully apply, oh this step right here takes what seems to be an eternity. I have never seen so much paperwork in my life, I think I had to disclose what was under my kitchen sink as well as my history going back ten years. After gathering my life’s history and signing everything, I attended a very long meeting to go over my application and make sure I was submitting everything requested. At this meeting, I learn that I am qualified to apply and my stuff is submitted.
After the committee reviewed everything, they decided that my family was a good fit for the nontraditional home buying program. Here is where you get to put in work as opposed to a large down payment. You have 2 options: you can do a new build putting in four hundred man hours towards your home or you can do a remodel completing two hundred volunteer hours minimum. I was in a rush, I didn’t want any of this to fall apart. I opted the remodel. I started my volunteer hours and was amazed at how quickly two hundred hours was completed.
Next thing you know after hours of financial classes, volunteering towards the build or remodel, saving for closing costs (which is what I used my IDA for), my girls and I became homeowners. Our two-year anniversary was May 29th, 2017 and my thirteen-year-old said, hey mom hasn’t it been almost two years in our castle? Her happiness, new-found security, and the fact that she even remembered when we moved in, inspired me to share this story. What possibilities the world holds for anyone that wants to seek them! The road may not be what you expected but the end result is better than ever imagined. I hope that now you are inspired to believe – your dreams are possible.
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