Opening the Road to Homeownership in Orlando

What a difference a day can make! If you attended the "Owning Your Future" ( at Jones High School in Orlando on June 25, 2005, you know what we mean. Well over 2000 residents came to learn about the many resources available right in their community to help make homeownership more affordable and accessible for them.

Because becoming a successful homeowner depends on many variables, HUD brought together a wide variety of federal, national, and local agencies to address the biggest barriers that families face today . . . things like ever-rising real estate prices, finding and qualifying for the right mortgage, the big down payment, credit worthiness and debt management, education and job training, food and nutrition, the high cost of transportation, childcare and healthcare services. In addition to 12 federal agencies and national partners, over 30 local government, non-profit and community partners, and housing industry partners answered questions and gave fairgoers valuable information to help them take the next step.

At noon, HUD Deputy Secretary Roy Bernardi greeted the crowd, highlighting the importance of homeownership, and interviewed Christina Karasig, a single mother and new homeowner, thanks to her determination and the collaboration of many agencies. In addition to her own efforts and investment, she received a forgivable, no interest soft second mortgage with HOPE VI funds, a third mortgage from Orlando Housing Authority, first-time homebuyer assistance from the (state) SHIP and bond programs, and down payment assistance from the City of Orlando. Her story was an inspiration to everyone and evidence that it can be done!

Many fairgoers stayed all day to attend as many of the 30-minute classes as possible and to try their luck with the hourly door prize drawings. Cookie the Clown and Tulips brought joy and laughter to kids of all ages, twisting balloon characters and painting faces. Melodies by local R&B artist Ruth King, dancing by the Jones High Steppers, and a presentation by Rio Grand Charter School students entertained the crowd from the main stage. But, the biggest thrills of the day belonged to the winners of those fabulous door prizes!

No one went home empty-handed, though. On the way out, their last question was, "When is the next Owning Your Future fair? I'm going to bring all my friends and neighbors next time!" Take a look and see for yourself.


Content Archived: July 8, 2011