Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

Praise for HAC's First-Time Homebuyer Class

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Oct 24, 2014 @ 10:16 AM

DSC 5799 resized 600

Preparation often sets the stage for success. And that is exactly where Brewster’s Derick Duarte found himself after taking HAC’s first-time homebuyer class in May. 

“I honestly had no idea the basic steps involved with buying a home,” Derick Duarte admitted.

That changed thanks to the assistance of Cheryl Kramer, the manager for HAC’s Housing Consumer Education Center, who led the four-week class Duarte took with his fellow Cape Codders earlier this year.

The class, Kramer said, “helps people think about what they are doing and who they want to work with in the process of purchasing their home.”

For Duarte it set the foundation for what to expect when purchasing a home on Cape Cod. “I knew what was coming, what I had to do and when I had to do it,” he said. “It was so much less stressful than if I hadn’t taken the class and didn’t know what was going on.”

He credited the sessions for giving him insight into choosing a real estate agent; the amount he would need for a down payment on a home; working with a mortgage broker; and the negotiation process for making an offer on a home.

Duarte learned about the class from a friend and elected to take it because “I was at a point in my life where I wanted to buy a home.”

A 41-year-old technician for Comcast and father of two – Cheyenne, 14, and Tyler, 12 – Duarte had been living and renting in Brewster for the past decade. “My rent now has gotten to the point where I’m paying someone else’s mortgage,” he said. “It doesn’t make sense if I keep paying rent. I’d rather own something I can pass on to my kids and we can customize and make our own.”

In August, Duarte was at the doorstep of making that dream a reality. He had an offer accepted on a home in Brewster which he finally moved into last month. “I’m thrilled,” he said. “I never thought in a million years I’d be able to afford a home in Brewster, but with the help of your homebuyer course and my agent it has been a painless process.

“I’ve talked to friends who have bought homes and their stress levels were through the roof because they didn’t know what to expect or what was going on,” he continued. “Every step of the process went as expected and I knew what was coming next.”

Click this link for information on HAC’s first-time homebuyer classes for next year.

Tags: Homebuyer Education, home ownership, HAC, Derick Duarte, Cheryl Kramer

HAC Helps Make Dream of Homeownership Possible

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Wed, Oct 15, 2014 @ 12:13 PM
Adrienne Gonsalves Check Photo resized 600Jan Nelson presents Adrienne Gonsalves with a mock-up of the check she received in August as reward for her completion of the Family Self-Sufficiency program.

Like most people Adrienne Gonsalves has long-wanted to have a home to call her own. In March, she took a major step toward attaining that goal when she graduated from HAC’s Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program which provides financial incentives for those receiving federal and state assistance to increase their salaries.

After four years in the program, Gonsalves earned just over $18,000 that included her own savings along with money provided to her by the government.

In May, the 36-year-old Gonsalves, whose daughter Torienne attends Barnstable High School, was featured in a HACbeat article that detailed how her completion of the FSS program was about to make her dream of homeownership become a reality.

Gonsalves returned to HAC in August to claim an additional reward for her hard work, a $5,000 check from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development that went towards her down payment and closing costs for a home in Cotuit she purchased later that month.

“It is so exciting,” said Gonsalves, unable to hide her smile.

When asked about the place she would be moving into shortly, she said, “I love it. It will be home to me. It looks like a little dollhouse. It is so cute.”

Gonsalves worked with Gael Kelleher in HAC’s real estate division to find the home.

And she was the beneficiary of a new state program that provides an additional $5,000 to those who complete the FSS program and are purchasing their first home. She represents the first client that Jan Nelson, the administrator for HAC’s FSS program, has worked with who has taken advantage of this benefit.

She is also only the second client in the past seven years that Nelson has overseen FSS to ever purchase a home.

“Just to see the strides Adrienne has made is incredible,” Nelson said, highlighting the power behind the FSS program. “I think people are so in awe that somebody cares for them enough to give them this money.”

And as the one who serves as the bearer of that good news, Nelson could not be happier. “I really do have the best job,” she said.

Tags: Jan Nelson, home ownership, HAC, FSS

HAC Helps Client Realize Her Dream

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Mon, May 19, 2014 @ 11:28 AM
describe the image Torienne Gonsalves (from left) with her mother Adrienne Gonsalves and Jan Nelson of HAC.

Ambition without a specific goal is essentially a dream.

But when Adrienne Gonsalves first stepped into the Housing Assistance Corporation’s office in 2010 she had both. “On the first day we met she told me she wanted to buy her own home,” said Jan Nelson, the administrator for HAC’s Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program. “And she wanted to work full-time and save money.”

The FSS program provided the path for Adrienne to achieve that goal. Now four years later she is at the doorstep to purchasing her own home, ideally in Hyannis, where she and her daughter Torienne, a sophomore at Barnstable High School, can live.

Adrienne was initially referred to Jan four years ago as a prime candidate for FSS, which provides incentives for those receiving federal and state assistance to increase their salaries. As those salaries grow so does their rent, with federal funds put into an interest-earning escrow savings account that is available to be used upon completion of FSS.

There was little doubt Adrienne would complete the program, according to Jan, who called her “very focused and very organized.”

When they first met Adrienne’s primary income came from a job as an on-call/per diem postal carrier. Though she longed to pursue that as a career, due to postal service cuts she was forced to choose a different path – dentistry.

She had worked as a dental assistant in the past and went back to school to receive her certification. Today Adrienne is now employed part-time as a certified dental assistant at Great Expressions Dental Center in Hyannis, while continuing to work part-time as a rural postal carrier.

Through FSS Adrienne was able to improve her finances, boost her confidence and attain self-sufficiency thanks to a number of practical classes that included the pathways to prosperity program and a financial literacy program, both of which were led by the non-profit Community Action Committee of Cape Cod and Islands (CACCI).

She also completed HAC’s classes focused on rebuilding credit and first-time homebuying.

Financially, she has been able to pay off her credit card debt, increase her savings and open an Individual Development Account (IDA) with CACCI. She was able to allocate $2,000 of her own money into that IDA, a figure that was matched giving her a total of $4,000 that can be used toward home ownership or a post-secondary education.

Those funds are on top of the $14,016.67 Adrienne received at the beginning of March – just two weeks shy of her 36th birthday - upon completion of the FSS program when her hard work was recognized during a ceremony at HAC’s offices in Hyannis. There Adrienne credited Jan for playing a pivotal role in her success. “She was very helpful and directed me to the resources I needed to achieve my goals,” Adrienne said.

Those goals continue to be focused on home ownership and today are much closer to a reality than ever before. Adrienne has been pre-approved for a mortgage and is working with realtor Gael Kelleher in HAC’s real estate division to find housing, proof that, with ambition and a little direction, goals are attainable.

Help clients like Adrienne get the services they need by contributing to HAC today. Click this link to donate!

Tags: Family Self Sufficiency, home ownership, HAC, FSS, Rebuilding your credit, IDA, Community Action Committee