It is Saturday, not yet 9—an early morning in The Woodlands with the promise of heat and humidity as people begin to arrive for the monthly Easter Seals Greater Houston‘s Homebuyer and Financial Literacy class/Down Payment assistance workshop. Zip codes filling up the sign-in sheets speak of distance traveled that morning: Harris, Ft. Bend, Brazoria, Waller, Walker Galveston, and Chambers. They come from neighborhoods from rural to urban, big city and small town, over a multi-county stretch. They represent many different income, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds, but all with the same purpose – qualifying for the down payment assistance program that will allow them to purchase a home.
Over coffee and doughnuts, the individual stories take shape. A widowed grandmother talks about the apartment complex where she has lived comfortably for the last 15 years but has struggled to pay the rapidly increasing rent over the last few years. Living on a fixed income with little assets, meeting her monthly rent payments had become unsustainable, and homeownership seemed to be a pipe dream without some kind of assistance.
A young couple with 2 young children spoke of their need for space, a backyard, and safe sidewalks where their kids could bike to neighbors or area parks.
One single Mom of 2 children, who had survived on rental assistance through the county, proudly talked of her now stable job with the expectation of finally owning her own home close to her children’s school. Without down payment assistance that dream of homeownership would remain just that – a dream, as even with good credit and little debt, qualifying for a home she could afford on her income would be impossible without some down payment assistance.
Over the course of the morning, all the local, state and federal down payment assistance programs were reviewed. Mortgage guidelines were discussed and the steps towards homeownership were outlined. Each of these families left class that day with a plan before them, and some months later, all are now proud property owners of a home of their choice.
Homeownership is not for everyone, nor is it something that happens over night; however, with the help of the Easter Seals Greater Houston housing team, commitment to your financial goals, and perseverance, it is attainable.
Whether this is your first home or a move back into homeownership after years of renting, the homebuyer class/ Down Payment assistance workshop is a great first step towards one of the most important purchases of your life.