|Jan Nelson, HAC’s Family Self-Sufficiency coordinator, helps those receiving Section 8 vouchers move off public assistance as part of a five-year program aimed at helping clients achieve self-sufficiency.
The date may have said April 1, but for Lisa* and her two teenaged children, this day was no joke. They were moving into their own home, representing the culmination of four years of dedication to HAC’s Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program.
Just a week earlier, Lisa was at HAC to celebrate her graduation from the program which provides savings incentives for those receiving a Section 8 voucher. As part of the FSS program, clients who increase their salaries have their rent increased, with the difference between the new monthly rent and the old one placed into an escrow savings account. Upon completion of FSS, clients can tap into that account, using the money as they deem fit.
Lisa, who entered the program in 2013, was able to accumulate nearly $14,500 in savings that she used towards a down payment on a new three-bedroom home in Cotuit which she purchased through an affordable housing lottery. Because she was giving up her voucher, she received another $5,000.
|HAC as able to help Lisa purchase this home earlier this year. At the beginning of April, she moved into the home with her two children.
“Dreams do come true,” Lisa said to HAC staff at her graduation party. She was joined by her mother Susan*, a current FSS client, who expressed delight in all that her daughter has achieved. “I am so happy for her,” Susan said. “She deserves this and has worked so hard for it.”
Jan Nelson, HAC’s FSS coordinator, had similar words of praise for Lisa, who came to the program just after she had been laid off from her job. Lisa is proof, Nelson said, that “hard work does pay off.”
For the past 12 years, Lisa and her children had been living in a two-bedroom apartment in Centerville. Admittedly, she had doubts that owning a home would ever be possible. But thanks to Jan’s help and HAC’s support – Lisa also took the agency’s First-Time Homebuyer workshop – she discovered that it is.
As she and her children were about to embark on this new adventure, Lisa spoke about the little things – taking her boys trick-or-treating and cooking her first meal – that she was most looking forward to experiencing in her new home.
Lisa’s new home has provided a sense of pride, not only for her, but her entire family. “I am the first person in my family to become a homeowner,” she said. “So not only is it exciting for myself, but it’s exciting for my family… I didn’t do this just for myself, but for my children to show them you can accomplish anything you want and you can reach for your dreams.”
*The names of the clients in this story have been changed.