“Don’t tell me I can’t do it, I’ll find a way!” Debra says as she sits with cane in hand at her large dining room table complete with plastic cover and lace placemats. The table she waited a long time to get out of storage after living at the Savannah Suites hotel on Sheridan Boulevard for years before she was able to afford her new home. 55 year old Debra Thompson now lives in a spacious three bedroom home in Thornton with her two sons. To say that she’s had a hard life would be a complete understatement. Debra was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles she was one of four siblings. Her father was abusive who at one time broke three of her ribs. Her mother was the one who urged her to move out of the state which she eventually did but after that nothing ever came easy. Debra had ten children, mostly boys and three girls. A few years prior to working with NEWSED one of her sons was murdered in West Denver and around the same time she lost her house and became homeless. On top of that she couldn’t work at her long time security job because of a severe on the job injury and was living on disability. “Everything just happened at once, it all came down on me,” Debra recalls while staring down at her table. “I made it through, but it was hard.”
Debra walks around her impeccably clean house which lingers with the smell of eggs she made herself for breakfast. She’s most proud of her large master suite. “Isn’t it big?” she beams with a big grin. In her living room there’s shelves she had her son put up that hold her limited edition McDonald’s glass collection and ceramic clown dolls. She has a lot to be proud of in this home she can finally be comfortable in, on her own terms. She found NEWSED through a computer search while working with Mile High United Way’s IDA program. “I saw that there were other agencies but I had a feeling about NEWSED,” she recalled. When Debra and her son first entered NEWSED’s doors on June 3rd 2013 she had no FICO score and several collections. Her son’s collections were double hers with a score in the low 500s. NEWSED Housing Counselor, Mercedes Fuentes, knew that their case would be challenging and would take a long time to get them to the point of home ownership, but in August of 2015 they made it. Debra and her son did it together and now they join the ranks of hundreds of NEWSED success stories. Don’t ever tell a strong and resourceful woman like Debra Thompson that something is impossible it’s not in their vocabulary. As she walks out on her front porch to have her picture taken she takes in a deep breath of cool Colorado fall air and tells us to, “hurry up, it’s getting cold!” Debra is the reason why NEWSED works to build self-sufficiency for people who are considered beyond help. It is her lead that we follow.
Anyone who has ever owned a home knows that it is much more than walls and a roof. Homeownership is the progression of a life, the settling of roots and the commitment to a community. Jose Salas had been a renter all his life and in his late 50’s he decided it was time to stop paying a landlord and start investing in his own property. The house Jose and his wife Sandra picked is in the heart Commerce City where they insisted on moving, despite the advisement of their realtor. “He said, no no there are no houses available, but he found one!” Jose explained with a wide grin. The house is quant and has blue siding with white shutters with an open kitchen and a large yard where he’s already put up a new fence to keep his granddaughter protected while she plays outside. “It feels good to own. Working with NEWSED was awesome!” In his voice there’s a healthy amount of satisfaction as he looks around his new home. When Jose came to NEWSED in January this year he was unsure about his ability to purchase but after working through a financial assessment with Housing Counselor, Mercedes Fuentes, she able to get him on the right path to become mortgage ready. In addition she helped secure down payment and closing costs through National Homebuyer Funds (NHF). This Denver native is happy to call Commerce City his new home and NEWSED is happy to have a part of Jose’s story.
Do you want to start your own homeownership story? Call NEWSED anytime Monday through Friday 9am to 5pm to set up an appointment. We’ll be happy to see you.
The Nazario Family
You can tell just by walking through the front door and seeing the lack of furnishings and blank walls that Damian, Jackie and their two kids Anela and Nazario have just moved in. With their new Aurora home they have much more space than their previous residence. Before their previous home where they were homeowners, but like many families did during the recession Damian and Jackie experienced foreclosure. “We had an ARM, eventually we couldn’t afford our house payments” explains Damian.
During the last three years they were renting a townhome that was barely adequate for their needs plus their landlord was anxious to sell which essentially pushed them out giving them barely enough time to find a home. They had to move fast, fortunately that were recommended to NEWSED to begin the home buying process. In this current housing market it was challenging finding the right home, in the right area and with good schools. In addition they lacked sufficient savings for an adequate down payment. Fortunately they qualified for an FHA loan and NEWSED Housing Counselor, Mercedes Fuentes, was able to find them much needed down payment assistance through Metro Mortgage Assistance at 4% of the sale price of the new home. “All we had to do was pay for the appraisal and inspection” Jackie explains with a big smile. When asked how this home buying experience was different than their first they talked about how they were able to get a full one on one financial assessment and attend a home buyer workshop.
“We learned so much through that process. We’ve been recommending NEWSED to our friends and family ever since”. As the family settles in there is a sense of ease and contentment. Anela and Nazario are ecstatic about their new home, one that they helped pick out. For this hard working family, for the time being, their dream of successful homeownership is complete.
Julia Garcia was at a point in her life without a lot of choices.
Single in the city of New York, laid off from her job with no other prospects or family nearby, she decided to move to Colorado to be near her sister. After moving to Denver Julia knew she wanted to own a home but didn’t know the process and needed some guidance. So while searching for a job she began researching the available community resources for first time home buying. That’s when she found NEWSED and began her housing counseling process with Mercedes Fuentes. Mercedes was able to assess Julia’s likelihood of qualifying for an Individual Development Account (IDA). Through approval from Mile High United Way Julia quadrupled her savings power in a relatively short amount of time with the IDA product. Julia’s FICO score and credit history required some repair which Mercedes was also able to assist with. It took Julia a total of a year and five months to become qualified for home loan but along the way she gained a valuable financial education. Now she’s sitting pretty in her new 2 bed, 2 bath bachelorette pad in Denver’s South Park Hill neighborhood.