This past April 25, Martha, a 61-year-old widow with a disability, accomplished what she thought impossible – she became a home owner. Over the last five years, she had survived intensive cancer treatments, lost her husband and her daughter, gave up her mobile home to foreclosure, and had to adjust to using a motorized chair most of the time due to degenerate disc disorder. Martha needed a home with complete wheelchair accessibility that she could afford on her very limited income from her late husband VA benefits and social security. Impossible she thought. Then Martha found Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Home of Your Own (HOYO) Program. Through Easter Seals, the HOYO Program offers the chance for a dream come true…one that takes time and a lot of hard work, but an American Dream none the less.
Martha participated in our HUD-Certified Homebuyer’s Education Classes, Financial Empowerment Workshops, THRIVE Connection and Financial Coaching through United Way and Down Payment Assistance Workshops.
She found that home on a quiet cull-de-sac in Willis, Montgomery County. The open floor plan and extra wide door frames would allow full wheelchair access to kitchen, bedrooms, and wheel-in shower. With more than $10,000 of down payment assistance from the Montgomery County Home Fund program, Martha was able to purchase the $95,000 home with a USDA mortgage at 3.25% interest rate using only $300 of her own funds. Her total monthly mortgage payment (principle, interest, taxes, and insurance) of $ 620.28 was less than her $725 rental payment for the 900 square foot apartment that no longer accommodated her needs. Martha had finally arrived home!!! Congratulations Martha!
Homeownership is as desirable for people with disabilities as it is for anyone else in America, yet it is estimated that less than one percent of Americans with disabilities are homeowners versus 66 percent of those without disabilities. Currently through the Home of Your Own Program (HOYO), Easter Seals is closing on 10-20 homes per year for individuals with disabilities who are low-income and first time homebuyers. The program was established in 2000, and no client has defaulted, thanks to the amazing workshop, classes and financial coaching! For more information, call (713) 838-9050 x353 or visit eastersealshouston.org.
Katy Thorstenberg, Home of Your Own,
Dorothy – “Oh, but anyway, Toto, we’re home. Home! And this is my room, and you’re all here. And I’m not gonna leave here ever, ever again, because I love you all, and – oh, Auntie Em – there’s no place like home!”