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  • Wednesday, August 24, 2022 3:09 PM | Anonymous

    "We are extremely happy that we were able to purchase our first property through the excellent counseling services of Jacqueline Villanueva at REACH. Not only did we purchase our home but we received down payment assistance that tremendously helped us since we do not have enough savings to accomplish this purchase."

  • Wednesday, August 24, 2022 3:07 PM | Anonymous

    Satisfied Customer

    "I heard about the Homeownership Assistance Program but I didn't feel confident that I could complete the application on my own. Thankfully Rosa was able to help me complete the application and prepare all of the documents being requested. Because of her I was able to have all of my missed payments covered by the program, plus 8 months of future payments. Without her help I may have lost my home. I can't thank her enough for all of the help she gave me."

  • Wednesday, August 24, 2022 3:01 PM | Anonymous

    A couple successfully keeps their home

    A married couple, who were both employed full time, came very close to losing their home. He was employed with the Clay County Clerk of Courts and she at a daycare center. The husband became seriously ill with COVID, was hospitalized and put on a respirator. When he was able to go home with an oxygen tank, his wife needed to miss work so that she could stay at home and care for him. As a result, she lost her job at the daycare center. Working with housing counselors from Jacksonville Area Legal Aid (JALA), the couple was able to get support from the Homeownership Assistance Program which provided them with 18 months of mortgage payments. While the man's health has improved to the point that his wife was able to go back to work, he is still using an oxygen tank and not able to return to work yet. It is hoped that at some point he will be ready to return to light duty employment when his oxygen levels permit. JALA staff will continue to work with this couple, exploring re-financing sources to hopefully ensure that they will be able to retain their home.

  • Wednesday, August 24, 2022 2:53 PM | Anonymous

    A client's attempts to keep his home

    Client came to us past due on his mortgage. His hours of work were reduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic and his reduced income was not enough to cover payments. He was able to secure a pandemic forbearance but, when that was about to expire, he still had insufficient income to cover his mortgage payments. Client completed the Housing Stability Counseling Program and we assisted him to complete his application for the HAF program. He was approved for HAF assistance and the client’s mortgage was completely reinstated. He was also granted several months of future mortgage payments. Client is currently working on savings and finding a source of extra income to allow him to move forward after the HAF future payments are over.

  • Tuesday, March 29, 2022 2:53 PM | Anonymous

    Mr. and Mrs. Yanez

    are elderly clients who came to their first counseling session in 2019 after attending a Solita’s House “First Time Homebuyer” class in Spanish. The clients had recently arrived in the United States from Cuba and wanted to achieve the American Dream of owning their own home.

    The clients had no credit record are all and a very modest household income. Nevertheless, they did not give up on their homeownership goal and were assisted by developing their credit using Solita’s House’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund and a Credit Builder Loan that was coupled with an Individual Development Account Program.

    The clients made their payments on time and were able to create a credit record which then resulted in a successful credit card application with their credit union.

    Mr. and Mrs. Yanez also applied successfully for the City’s Dare to Own the Dream Program but because of their low income, were not able to find a house to buy.

    They did receive a substantial amount of money from the CDFI’s IDA Program which came in handy when they faced some health issues.

    The clients stayed in communication with this counselor and also with Solita’s House employee Lourdes del Rio who informed the clients about a rental housing opportunity with the Renaissance Program which came at an opportune time as their rent was about to be increased substantially with an amount unattainable for the clients’ budget.

    The clients were assisted in applying for the Renaissance Program and were soon accepted and were able to move in paying an amount of rent that is much lower than what they were previously paying.

  • Friday, March 25, 2022 2:37 PM | Anonymous

    Mr. Jones

    attended his first pre-purchase counseling session in April. The client is a single father with 2 small daughters who wanted to be in a position to qualify for a mortgage loan that he could afford and possibly be able to get any guidance in order to achieve his goal. Mr. Jones’ modest income dictated that he would need any financial assistance he could get.

    The client had good credit scores to start with but was counseled to lower the credit utilization and credit card balances in order to also help his ratios. He followed instructions closely and soon his credit scores soared averaging well over the 700 mark.

    He was also assisted with following a developed budget that allowed him to meet his family’s financial obligations, but also to add to his savings which he understood to be critical in the home buying process and as a homeowner.

    The client was also assisted in applying to the City’s Dare to Own the Dream Program and was successful in securing that down payment and closing assistance. Still, he and his realtor Marisol

    Coll had trouble finding a house that met his family’s needs until the opportunity to apply for a Rebuilding Together Tampa Bay was presented. The client was encouraged to apply for this program and was subsequently accepted resulting in achieving his goal of buying a brand new house for his family.

    The client also selected Solita’s House as his lender as he felt comfortable with this agency because of the counseling he received. The result was that this client was able to buy a brand new home using only $3,000.00 from his own savings which left a savings cushion of several thousand dollars. He also received $30,000.00 from the City’s Dare to Own the Dream Program plus an additional $86,480.00 from Rebuilding Together Tampa Bay. This client’s monthly mortgage payment will be $851.60 which amounts to $388.40 less than what he was previously paying for rent

  • Friday, March 25, 2022 2:37 PM | Anonymous

    Ms. Welch

    first came to pre-purchase counseling after attending a Solita’s House First-Time Homebuyer Class in the fall of 2020 after first having dealt with a counselor no longer with the agency. The client had a goal of qualifying for down payment and closing assistance to buy the house she was presently living in that previously belonged to her late dad.

    Ms. Welch had a significant barrier to overcome as her modest income had not allowed for the necessary savings needed to help with the purchase of a home. She was promptly identified as a good candidate to apply for the City’s Dare to Own the Dream Program and was assisted in applying for this needed assistance.

    Since the property is located in the East Tampa footprint, she was also encouraged to apply for the ET CRA program which she did. The client also had modest credit scores and was counseled on proper ways to improve her scores. Also, a strict budget was agreed upon between the client and the counselor and she was provided with the necessary tools to follow a successful budget based on “needs vs. wants” and with the goal of adding to her savings.

    The client followed the instructions properly and her credit scores improved greatly and are presently averaging in the 700 level. She also managed to save over $2,000.00.

    Eventually, she was approved for "Dare to Own the Dream" (DARE) and ET CRA and is now scheduled to close on her home on December 9th benefiting from both down payment assistance programs. As a result, she will now pay around $550 a month for her mortgage which is obviously less than the $600 a month she was previously paying for rent at the very same property.

  • Friday, March 25, 2022 2:37 PM | Anonymous

    Ms. Cade

    The client was then able to buy her house and now pays a monthly mortgage payment that is less than what she was paying for rent. Now, the client is in the process of helping other children by adding to her foster mom family.

  • Friday, March 25, 2022 2:33 PM | Anonymous

    Ms. Harris

    came in for her first pre-purchase counseling session in October of 2020 after she attended a Solita’s House Homebuyer Education Class. Her immediate goal was to be able to qualify for a home loan with down payment and closing assistance from the City of Tampa’s DARE Program. She was particularly interested in newly built RTTB homes and getting it financed through a Solita’s House CHAMP loan which she had already applied for.

    The client was then immediately fast tracked to attend the DARE orientation meeting scheduled for October as the first step for her to secure that down payment and closing assistance which she was awarded in December.

    Along the way a team effort from different department at Solita’s House was required since the client’s goal of qualifying and buying the RTTB home encountered some obstacles including liens that appeared on the property she wanted to buy. This delayed the closing, and the client was discouraged but was counseled to be patient and to continue adding to her savings by following the budget created during her first counseling session and to also continue her efforts to make her already good credit even better.

    The client’s AMI was also a temporary barrier as her earnings showed that for a period of time, she was above the 80% AMI. Again, with a team effort with members of this agency this issue was resolved and on January the 21st the client’s dream of owning her own home came through with a very nice deal that perfectly fits her budget.

  • Thursday, March 24, 2022 10:50 AM | Anonymous

    Ms. Maloy

    was homeless staying in a motel with her 5 children. She was able to learn about the services that Solita’s House offered and contacted us. She took the Financial Capability workshop and met with a Rental Counselor. She utilized the Rental Security and Utility Deposit Assistance program. Her Rental Counselor was able to assist her with all the paperwork and communicating back and forth with the landlord. Ms. Maloy is now in her new unit!

    Ms. Maloy said:

    “I just wanted to take the time out and tell Solita's House/ Ms.Tania Vazquez thank you from the bottom of my heart. This has been a very tough journey for me. You all went above and beyond to help me and my family get into a place.  I was looking for at least 6 months before I found this program. I'm so grateful that God placed you in my life and that he provided you all with the care, love, and funds to change our lives. Here is a picture of me and my kids in front of our new home that Solita's house help us get. You don't understand how happy we have been since you helped us -- it was a big stress relief for us. We appreciate you guys. We love you and thank you so much from my family to yours. God bless you!!!!”

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