A mother of six and a grandmother of three is thankful to be a new homeowner with the help of a non-profit organization that helps residents in need of affordable housing.
Virginia Lynn’s journey to homeownership began in 2017 when she attended a home-buyer workshop at her apartment complex in Eden Park at Ironwood that was conducted by the Gainesville Neighborhood Housing and Development Corporation.
“I learned about budgeting and credit repair,” Lynn said. “It took more time than I anticipated to recover from a divorce, but I kept working on the things that I had learned in the workshop.”
The NHDC has been in existence since 1982.
The mission of NHDC is to improve the quality of life and economic opportunities of low- and moderate-income persons. NHDC builds new homes and rehabilitates existing homes that are available for first-time home purchasers.
“I believe quality affordable housing is a basic human right and everyone should be afforded the opportunity to live in quality affordable housing,” said NHDC Executive Director Corey Harris. “Housing is essential to be the fabric our community as housing provide opportunities for wealth creation, local jobs, provide safety and security and often time we see lower rates of crime in areas where you have good quality homes.”
In November 2020, Lynn completed a homebuyer education workshop sponsored by NHDC and received a certificate of completion which lasts for one year.
In January 2021, she applied for a mortgage after she improved her credit score and saved a down payment for a new home in East Gainesville.
“At age 54, I thought it was a little late to be purchasing a new home, but it is never too late to pursue your dreams,” Lynn said. “I am very proud of that accomplishment because it had taken almost four years to improve my financial situation. As a single mom, I wanted to show my kids that they could accomplish anything they set their minds to — no matter what age you are.”
Lynn said she wanted to become a homeowner to build equity and leave something for her children and to be eligible for the tax benefits of homeownership.
“I love the fact that I will be able to decorate to my taste,” she said. “I do not have to worry about neighbors being so close to me that I can hear their conversations. I love the fact that once I build equity, I can borrow money to start a business or make additions to the home if I want to.”
Lynn said she was thankful to find affordable housing in Gainesville.
“There are so many working families in the community that may not be aware that this service is available,” Lynn said. “All of the services were low cost, including credit counseling and application fee. Anytime that I had a question, I would call or email Janice Crews and she gave me an answer very promptly. I also had a great team with my realtor, Swanzetta Johnson, and my lender, Menzie Campbell of Movement Mortgage. They were very professional and answered any questions or concerns that I had.”
Crews, a NDHC counselor, has been with Lynn every step of the way to becoming a homeowner.
“She is a very determined person who is providing the very best that she can for her family,” Crews said. “It has been rewarding for me to be a part of her journey into homeownership. Ms. Lynn and I established goals and action steps. She completed all of them. I am happy that NHDC built an affordable home that Ms. Lynn loves.”
Johnson, a realtor from Fontana Realty, enjoyed helping Lynn achieve her dream of becoming a homeowner.
“I love being able to empower first time home buyers through educational resources and training,” Johnson said. “The best reward for me is being with my first-time home-buyer throughout the entire process, turning doubt and dreaming into confidence and reality.”
Lynn said she learned valuable information from NHDC such as obtaining down payment/closing cost assistance, finding a realtor, finding a lender, homeowner’s insurance, financial literacy and so much more.
“The class is only $50 but you will be reimbursed once you close on a house so it is a win-win,” Lynn said. “The staff is very knowledgeable and helpful. They will answer any questions that you have during the process.”
For more information about affordable housing, visit gnhdc.org.