Three days before Christmas in 2004, Gary Phillipo received a phone call that changed his life. He was notified by Housing Assistance that he was approved to purchase an affordable condo in East Falmouth.
“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “I felt like I hit the lottery.”
As he approaches the 17-year anniversary of that moment, he is reflecting back on what that home has given him. “Every day when I go downstairs in the morning and make coffee, I am so grateful to be here,” he said. “In the summer, my wife has gardens outside with a bunch of different pots and flowers in them. It is really, really nice. It’s so comfortable living here.”
Comfort and stability. That is what his affordable condo has given him and his wife, Hope Christy.
“Homeownership, for most people, is very stabilizing in a chaotic world,” said Housing Assistance Director of Real Estate Gael Kelleher. “That is why it’s so important. This world can get crazy and all kinds of stuff happens, but if you have that one constant safe, stable place to live, it is very comforting.”
The condo has given the couple, who are in their mid- and late-70s, a home where they can age in place.
Admittedly, Phillipo never thought he’d be able to own a home after leaving his job at Polaroid in 1988 and moving from the Natick area down to the Cape three years later. “I had so much financial trouble, I never thought I’d ever get a house,” he said. “When I say it went bad, it went terribly bad. It was one thing right after another.”
Prior to purchasing his condo, he was renting an apartment with a friend in Hyannis while working a maintenance job at Gosnold. He had taken one of our First-Time Homebuyer workshops and worked with our Cape Community Real Estate department in applying for several affordable homes, including a new affordable condo that had been built in East Falmouth.
“I had bid for others and was not successful. On this one, I was a runner up in the lottery and didn’t think I had a chance to get it,” he said. And that’s when he received the lifechanging phone call.
When people think of affordable housing, they should think of people like Gary Phillipo and Hope Christy.
“There’s no way in the world I could afford this house right now,” Phillipo said. “With this, it’s not a struggle to pay the mortgage payment. And we can still do things we enjoy and go out to eat once in a while. These are comforts that many people take for granted, but when you lose the ability to do those things, it is very tough.”