Pushing for a Dream

[Photo: Joe Burst, Robert Deese, and Ron Boyd at Robert's new home]
Joe Burst, Robert Deese, and Ron Boyd at Robert's new home.

It started over four years ago at a Habitat for Humanity meeting. Someone mentioned that the Housing Choice (Section 8) Voucher program could be used to help pay for a mortgage payment. It was a simple statement, but it started Robert Deese on a mission to buy a home. Robert found that the Homeownership Voucher Program was not available in Montana at that time, but he was persistent. He called the Housing Authorities of Billings and Helena, the Montana Department of Commerce and anyone else he thought might make the program available. He worked through many obstacles and eventually became a homeowner! His story is an inspiration to everyone.

Robert is legally blind, married, and has six children. He needed a house big enough for his family and a small business. His first step was to take the First Time Home Buyer class offered by the City of Billings. Overwhelmed by all the information, Robert asked his instructor, Joe Burst, if he would set up a one-on-one class, and Joe agreed. Joe helped Robert find down payment assistance programs and complete the necessary applications. Joe later changed employment, but continued working with Robert to help him find a home.

Jerry Hanson of Intermountain Mortgage helped Robert determine how much home he could afford. In order to qualify for the type and size of homes that Robert wanted, he had to work on getting either more income or more down payment. Robert really needed the Homeownership Voucher Program, but nobody in Montana was using the program. Robert called Lucy Brown, Executive Director of the Housing Authority of Billings, Patti Webster, Operations Manager or Teddi Shorten, Resident Initiatives Coordinator at least once a month for about two years. His persistence paid off, the Housing Authority of Billings said they would give it a try. Now he needed to find a house. Robert began working with Realtors Sharon and Ron Boyd in Billings. They helped him find a house, the financing and completed all the paperwork to help make Robert's dream come true.

With Robert's persistence and a good team of people helping them along the way, the Deese family are now proud owners of a new home in Billings, MT. They are thrilled, and their Housing Choice (Section 8) Voucher is helping with their monthly mortgage payments. Public and private cooperation were the key to making his dream come true.

Some Words of Wisdom from Robert and others about homeownership.

  1. Be patient and work on getting your credit cleaned up.
  2. Create a network of people who can help you.
  3. Look for programs that you may be eligible for, they may not be advertised, search the web.
  4. Expect to pay your part, so learn how to save money.
  5. Get as much information as you can about how to buy a house.
  6. Take a First Time Home Buyer class early in the process and ask a lot of questions then "Push for your dream!"


Content Archived: April 12, 2011