When D.C. native Tydia Reaves talks about her new home, she highlights the roses in her front yard, along with some blooming hostas. She said she enjoys the peace and serenity of her new backyard. And she marvels about all of her stainless steel appliances.
Reaves is yet another brand new District of Columbia Housing Authority homeowner. DCHA’s homeownership program allows customers to use their voucher for mortgage assistance for up to 15 years, as long as the program rules are followed.
“I never thought that DCHA would help me the way they did to purchase my home. That is what I really did love about it. I got the home I would have never dreamed I would have gotten in D.C. and I love it. I’m serious,” Reaves said. “I really am a walking miracle.”
After renting for years, Reaves said she wanted to invest in her future. She said she was tired of throwing away her money on rent when she could own something of her own. She entered DCHA’s Family Self-Sufficiency program with the end goal of homeownership.
“With FSS, they will help you save your money to put towards your home or whatever bill you owe for your credit. You can pay some of your bills off or purchase your home. And if you don’t have any money, they help you get a job,” said Reaves, who said her FSS coordinators encouraged her throughout the process. “They made sure I got through the program. They made sure I was ready and had all the skills to purchase a home—a stable income and everything.”
Another important part of the program for Reaves was working on improving her credit, she said. Reaves went to DCHA partner Lydia’s House to work with credit counselors to remove problems from her report and make arrangements to pay down her debt.
“They encourage you to either pay the bill or think of another way of how to deal with the bill so you were able to purchase a home and build your credit up. I really do owe a lot of this to Lydia’s House,” Reaves said.
Once Reaves handled her credit, she was able to apply for DCHA’s Homeownership Assistance Program. There she was introduced to the process for identifying realtors, mortgage lenders, and other individuals who could help her with the housing search.
She worked with the District’s Home Purchase Assistance Program (HPAP) to take classes on homeownership and receive a grant. As a D.C. government employee, Reaves applied for and received an additional grant provided by the employees’ union. She applied both grants to her down payment, but there was a lot of paperwork.
“You have to stay strong into it. I had to climb mountains to get where I am at. It is not a long process as long as you stay on top of it,” Reaves said. “Like with the HPAP program. As long as you stay on top of it, it is not as hard as you think it is.”
The four-month search for her new home took her to a detached home in Northeast. The final financing and closing process proved to be frustrating for her, she said, but in the end, it was good. She closed on her new home on March 31.
“I do suggest to anybody to go through the homeownership program. The HPAP grant is money that you have to pay back if you refinance, but it is a little bit at a time over 40 years and it is interest free,” she said. “I will take an opportunity to purchase a home. At least you are a homeowner. You don’t have to rent from anybody you don’t have to keep burning your money in rent. It feels good to have a home. It is a good opportunity.”
Reaves went on to say, “I really wanted something for my future. I knew if you bought a home normally in D.C., the equity would go up and it would be more money and worth more later on. I feel like D.C. is the place that makes all the decisions in the world so I wanted to really purchase a home in D.C.”
“D.C. is the place to be,” she said.
It has been a few months since she moved in and the shock is finally starting to wear off.
“People say, ‘This is a beautiful home,’ and I can really say, ‘I’m a homeowner. Thank you it is mine,” Reaves said. “I can really appreciate it and I thank God for it and everybody that helped me.”