Homeownership Month - June 2015
To close out the National Homeownership Month, we want to show you a snapshot of our entire Housing Counseling Network!
Watch the video!
To celebrate National Homeownership Month, check out how a local resident overcame homelessness through Hawaiian Community Asset's housing counseling, financial education, rent subsidy programs.
(from HCA's latest newsletter by Samantha Champion)
Victoriano Ortiz, a 52-year old Native Hawaiian man, first came Hawaiian Community Assets (HCA) in January 2011 while staying at the Kumuhonua Transitional Shelter. Having spent decades living on the beach with no roof over his head, he found opportunity to break the cycle of homelessness through financial education.
"My case managers told me about HCA and I took advantage of (the financial education services) because I was tired of being homeless and wanted to improve my financial situation," shared Victoriano, who struggled to find an affordable rental on social security disability income of $674 per month.
Working with HCA's counselors, he completed a 4-hour Kahua Waiwai Financial Education Workshop series and received one-on-one counseling to create and follow a monthly budget, develop a savings plan, improve his credit, and learn how to become a financially qualified renter.
Over the next three and half years Victoriano met regularly with HCA counselors and worked closely with his case managers at Kumuhonua and later, Onelauena, to find rental housing he could afford. Even with housing program fees of $350 per month, he diligently followed his budget, adjusting when changes needed to be made and saved into his Trust account at Onelauena.
By March 2015, Victoriano had saved $1,060, secured $223 in SNAP benefits to increase his household monthly income to $956, and successfully secured a 1-bedroom rental home in Waianae.
Victoriano was motivated to save by HCA's one-of-a-kind Renters MATCH Savings Account, a product funded by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs that provided him a 4:1 match on $500 saved for a total of $2,000.
"I was able to keep money in my savings account and made no withdrawals which qualified me for the Renters Match money. It was a big help," said Victoriano, sharing that his Renters MATCH funds paid his rent in-advance for 11 months which allows him to continue saving into his emergency savings each month.
As a Housing First recipient, he also received rent subsidy through the Institute for Human Services to reduce his rental payment to $176 per month for the first year. Additional financial assistance was provided by Salvation Army which covered his $950 security deposit.
"I would tell (other homeless individuals) to go to HCA, listen to their counselor," advised Victoriano (pictured left). "(HCA's) guidance was very helpful. I'm not homeless anymore!"
Victoriano is now living happily in his 1-bedroom home in Waianae with his girlfriend and puppy.
To celebrate National Homeownership Month, check out a glimpse Asian American Homeownership Counseling’s hard work in preventing foreclosures in the DC metro area:
Mr. Purba and family lives at Gaithersburg, Maryland and is the head of household of 4, including 2 young sons. Mr. Purba had an interest only mortgage that he began to default on. On top of that, he also lost his full-time job which made their financial situation even more difficult. Fortunately, Mr. Purba was able to find a part-time job and Mrs. Purba was able to secure another full-time job. They still were unable to make their payments, so they reached out to AAHC. With the help of AAHC’s housing counselors, Mr. Purba received a trial offer from their servicer and made their trial payments for 8 months. During this time period, their loan was sold to another servicer. The new servicer did not recognized Purba’s trial payment approval and demanded that Purba’s to bring up their arrears to current. After 20 months of communication between the servicer and AAHC’s housing counselors, Mr. Purba finally received a permanent loan modification that they were able to afford.
To celebrate National Homeownership Month, here is a success story from Asian Community Development Corporation in Boston:
Mike is a single young man in his mid-twenties and speaks Mandarin. He completed a high school education in China and has extremely limited English proficiency. In 2009 he left his family in China and moved alone to Boston to live with his aunt. Not surprisingly, he had the American Dream to own his own home and be reunited with his mom in the U.S. He then found out about ACDC at his church through an informational session about affordable housing. After participating in the workshop, he was very excited to learn more about affordable housing and subsequently made an appointment with one of our housing counselors.
ACDC’s housing counselor helped him complete applications for an affordable housing lottery. In addition, ACDC staff encouraged him to get a bank pre- approval but his income was too low to qualify for a traditional mortgage. While Mike was diligently looking for affordable housing announcements in the newspaper, he was eventually chosen in an affordable housing lottery. This summer Mike will move into his first new home in the suburbs south of Boston. His two room condominium will accommodate him and his mother who will be joining him from China. ACDC’s HB101 workshops and individual counseling from our housing counselors were instrumental in preparing Mike for the often complicated home buying process, and helped him access resources to secure an affordable, high-quality new home. He is excited that ACDC helped him to realize his American dream of homeownership.
To celebrate National Homeownership Month, we congratulate Lee Lin, from Asian Community Development Corporation, for being recognized by HUD as a Champion of Service. Lee has been with ACDC since 2012 and a knowledgeable counselor for Chinese speaking potential homeowners. Check out her recognition here:
Lee Lin started with Asian Community Development Corporation (ACDC) in 2012 as a part-time housing counselor. Today, she is ACDC’s Housing Counseling Manager, responsible for ACDC’s Comprehensive Housing Opportunities Program (CHOP), which serves over 400 prospective homebuyers yearly. No matter how much work is on her plate, she has always greeted clients with a smile, ready to answer questions and provide helpful resources. She has walked clients step by step through the home buying process, often meticulously translating documents and phone calls for her Chinese speaking clients. Lee regularly makes herself available for 1-on-1 counseling during weekend and evening hours in order to ensure that her clients fully understand the home buying process. She also is a NeighborWorks certified housing counselor. Lee’s attitude and commitment serve as a shining example for housing counselors.
To celebrate National Homeownership Month, we share a story from a member of our Housing Counseling Network, Chinese American Service League in Chicago:
Mr. Chau came to the U.S. with his parents about 15 years ago. His family worked very hard and dreamed of eventually becoming homeowners. After saving for several years, they decided it was time. However, they didn’t know how or where to start the process. Due to their language barriers, they needed a resource that was both knowledgeable and had the language capability. Mr. Chau then found out about CASL’s housing program through a flyer. He attended our first-time home buyer education workshop and other classes. In these classes, he learned how to get a loan from the bank, keep track of his money and avoid predatory lending practices. Once he completed these classes, he met with our housing counselor for one-on-one counseling. Through these sessions, our housing counselor helped him successfully apply for $15,000 in down payment assistance. With the help of this grant, he was able to fulfill his dream and buy a home for himself and his parents.
June is National Homeownership Month! This month recognizes the tools and resources available to help reach the important milestone of homeownership. Our Housing Counseling Network makes great efforts to help low income AAPI families overcome barriers and accomplish their dream. This month, we will feature our organizations in the Housing Counseling Network and they great work they do.
To kick off the month, check out Department of Housing and Urban Development's The Bridge monthly newsletter. Several of CAPACD’s members were featured as part of Asian Pacific Heritage month in May.