Several new first-time homebuyers and District of Columbia Housing Authority customers were honored recently for achieving their dreams of owning a home.
The event, which closed out Mayor Muriel Bowser’s June Housing Bloom and national Homeownership Month, was held June 29.
“I want to congratulate all of you that are current homeowners and also wish much luck to those of you who are about to cross that finish line,” DCHA Executive Director Adrianne Todman told the crowd full of homeowners and customers who are in the contract process. “You all make us so proud.”
In the audience were five homeowners, five soon-to-be purchasers who have homes under contract, and another 11 who are in the settlement process.
Deborah Dunlap, who had finalized the purchase of her home just 10 days before the event, said, “It was a long journey for me, but I did it.”
DCHA’s homeownership programs have staff that support the agency’s customers throughout the entire home purchasing process. Often this includes partnerships with other public and private organizations that provide credit counseling, guidance with local lenders, and real estate agents. The purchaser also is required to take classes, such as first-time buying or financial workshops. DCHA helps customers by establishing escrow accounts for down payments, or using a voucher to support a mortgage. Several times because of the customer’s hard work he or she can purchase a home without any subsidy.
“It worked...It is a dream come true,” said Franselene St. Jean through tears. St. Jean has worked for several years towards owning a home and is now waiting to sign her contract.
“I’ve been a homeowner for a few years now. Because once I got my keys...I felt like I was in my glory,” said D.C. Council member Anita Bonds. “It is like nobody can tell you anything now.”
Bonds, who chairs the Council’s Committee on Housing and Urban Development, said that the city’s Home Purchase Assistance Program should see an increase in funding this budget cycle. Bonds added that the city must work to ensure people from all walks of life can afford and have the opportunity to purchase homes in the District.
Creating and preserving homeownership opportunities for D.C. residents is a top priority of DCHA and the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development, said DHCD Director Polly Donaldson.
DCHA’s Housing Choice Voucher Program Director Ronald McCoy told the crowd that despite the many obstacles and negative people that may have gotten in the way of them becoming economically self-sufficient, these homeowners “held steadfast to their dreams.”
These new homeowners are now the beacons in their communities and setting examples for their friends and neighbors, noted Edward Krauze, CEO of the D.C. Association of Realtors.