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It took a couple of tries and a lot of determination, but Kendra Pearson has been a proud homeowner for a full year now.

Pearson is one of the District of Columbia Housing Authority’s graduates of both the Family Self-Sufficiency and homeownership programs. She set her goals high and took the steps and classes she needed in order to achieve her dream.

“I believe that not everyone’s dream is to be a homeowner, but it was mine. I knew no matter what, I was not going to stop pursuing my goal,” Pearson said. “You have set backs, but I refused to let that affect me achieving my goal.”

Pearson originally became a DCHA voucher customer in 1999. She learned of the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program and the various ways it helps customers set goals and achieve them and signed up. She set goals of finding a new job, establishing a checking account, and improving her credit.

“I graduated FSS the first time in 2010. I completed and accomplished all of my goals,” she said.

But then, as fate would have it, she lost her job as a school bus driver a few months later. She was in DCHA’s headquarters on 1133 North Capitol Street, N.E., when she ran into FSS Coordinator Ronald Fisher. She told him of her set back. He agreed to let her back into the FSS program.

“It took me two years after I joined the program a second time to be gainfully employed again,” said Pearson, who said despite her unemployment, she was very careful not to let her new improved credit score to decline.

Once she had a new job as a city bus driver, she established new goals—a savings account and owning her own home. She graduated from FSS again in 2018 and started in the homeownership program.

Individuals and families who qualify for the homeownership programs have up to five years to purchase a home. DCHA helps residents set up escrow accounts to help with down payments. Others use their housing choice voucher  to support their mortgages. Some of our customers secure their mortgages without any DCHA subsidy. The purchaser is required to take classes, such as first-time home buying, receive credit counseling, and partner with other public and private agencies for guidance with local lenders and real estate agents. DCHA offers support throughout the entire journey to a family’s self-sufficiency.

Pearson took classes on homeownership and budgeting from Lydia’s House through FSS. They helped her to get additional assistance from D.C. Home Purchase Assistance Program. There was help finding realtors and walking through all of the related paperwork, too.

“There is a great support system in FSS. Everyone has always been supportive here,” Pearson said. “It is up to you to take that help and assistance to make sure you do what you need to do to accomplish your goal.”

It took a long time, and the paperwork was not fun, but the person selling the house was familiar with the program, which was helpful, Pearson said. He wanted to help her purchase her first home and was extra patient and understanding, she said.

“The whole thing was head banging, but I was already informed. Actually, it went a little better than I expected. Anything they asked for, I was able to provide. They asked for it a lot,” Pearson said. “I am a person of faith. I believe if it was meant for you, it was meant for you and nothing can stand in the way of you getting it.”

And now she has a beautiful home in Southwest.

Her message to the next person who wants to buy a home: “It is a road you travel. Sometimes the road gets bumpy, but you stay on the road. Don’t let anything make you turn off your road. Keep your head up.”

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Last modified: 5/9/2019 12:10:15 PM