Forever Grateful

Carol Jones and her children in front of their new home
Carol Jones and her three children in their new home. A non-traditional lender agreed to finance the their loan.
Carol Jones and her three children had lived in Section 8 housing for years--always dreaming of a home of their own. But a disability and some credit issues seemed to stand as roadblocks to homeownership. Finally, after her son, James got a job and increased the household income, Carol took charge of her future.

The new income meant the rent would increase to a level equal to a house payment. That is when Elaine Burton, the family self-sufficiency coordinator for the Fort Smith Housing Authority, entered the picture. Carol and Elaine began to plan for Carol to purchase a home. Carol was referred to Karen Phillips, Director of Homebuyer Assistance, Crawford Sebastian Community Development Council Inc., who enrolled Carol in a HUD-approved housing counseling classes.

A new house built by the housing authority using HOME funds waited for a qualified buyer (HOME is the largest Federal block grant to State and local governments designed exclusively to create affordable housing for low-income households).

The house was exactly what Carol wanted and she set her sights on getting it. Carol qualified for grant funds from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas and the Housing Authority agreed to provide principal reduction grant funds.

One large obstacle remained; credit issues prevented traditional underwriting methods to approve a loan. Karen put Carol with Benefit Bank, a non-traditional lender, who agreed to finance the home.

Once she knew she was actually getting a loan for her home, Carol couldn't stop smiling. When asked about her experience Carol sums it up most eloquently: She is "forever grateful."

Content Archived: July 14, 2011