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"John & Mary"
John and Mary had an income under $39,000 for their household of seven. The family needed a larger home and wanted it to be one they owned. When they were referred to CHRA by the Section 8 Self Sufficiency Program, the couple’s biggest challenge was poor credit. From 1999 to mid-2000, Mary worked on, and succeeded in, resolving all of their credit issues. They had built up $12,000 in credit from the Self Sufficiency program and retained some money in savings after settling their debts. CHRA referred them to National Bank of Arizona for special financing. The Bank had bond funds available at 7.8% with downpayment assistance. This helped the family keep their payments down and left money in savings. CHRA counseling also reduced their MIP on the bond loan. They were very grateful to be able to qualify for a mortgage and were able to purchase their home for $92,900.

For $425/month, Isabel, a working, single mother, along with her four children (ages 13 to 20) and two "grandbabies" (ages 2 and 4), was living in a small, two-bedroom condominium. Too many people in too little space. She decided to explore home ownership and was helped by a supportive, knowledgeable Realtor who put her in touch with CHRA. Isabel was a good candidate for the First-time HOMEbuyers Program. CHRA helped her identify what was needed to qualify for the program, including cleaning up credit problems dating back to her marriage. Isabel had very basic criteria for the first home she would own: four bedrooms and a selling price that didn't exceed her approved loan amount of $89,000. It took time to find the right home - she and her Realtor "looked at a lot of houses!" But they finally found the right one, in need of repairs and under-priced for quick sale. Among other things, it required roof repairs, new carpet and flooring, paint inside and out, bathroom doors, a new swamp cooler and the removal of large blobs of concrete in the yard. "I didn't want anything fancy, just something to accommodate my family and I didn't want to stretch each month." Her monthly mortgage payment is less than $400 for a five bedroom home. She loves the neighborhood and says most of the people have owned their homes for a long time. "It feels very nice and very peaceful. Being a single parent is hard. Now my kids have a stable place they can call their own. We belong some place."

Jerome is a disabled 36-year old who was determined to become a homeowner despite an income of less than $14,000. He came to CHRA in 1998 to apply for the City of Phoenix First Time HOMEbuyers Program, met eligibility requirements and was approved for a mortgage. Unfortunately, he was unable to find a home before the program ended. Jerome knew he needed this program's 4% interest rate to qualify for a mortgage large enough to purchase a home and he was willing to wait until the program re-opened. It took approximately two years, during which time Jerome called CHRA periodically to update his file. When the HOMEbuyers Program started again in August 2002, Jerome reapplied and was again approved, this time by National Bank of Arizona. He purchased a home for $87,000 with a mortgage payment of $500, which was comparable to his rent payment. Homeownership has stabilized Jerome's housing situation, particularly because continued rent increases would have eventually outpaced his income and jeopardized his ability to maintain the independent lifestyle he has worked so hard to achieve.

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