Rosa Ruiz* had always wanted to own a home, but felt like it was beyond her grasp. “I never thought it would happen for me,” the 41 year-old single mother says. “I saw everyone around me buying homes, some even their second home, and I didn’t have one, but it was always ‘eventually, eventually.’” Working hard to support herself and raise her three boys, homeownership and the stability it offers were always on Rosa’s mind, but fell into the background as daily responsibilities mounted and the three bedroom apartment with a kind landlord felt good enough.
But when a friend of Rosa’s told her about getting help from Spanish Coalition for Housing (SCH) to buy her home, Rosa decided that “eventually” had finally arrived. She met with homeownership counselor and financial literacy specialist Anna Jimenez, and together they made a plan to suit Rosa’s needs. Although emotionally she felt ready to own her own home, her credit score wasn’t ready yet. “I never knew the importance of credit when I was younger and I wasn’t careful,” she admits. “So, I had to fix my credit.”
For many single-income renters, homeownership seems like an unattainable dream, and financial struggles like more than they can overcome alone. At SCH, we believe that financial empowerment comes with financial knowledge, and are proud to receive support from funders like COUNTRY Financial who advocate for this mission. “Strong communities are built on strong families. At COUNTRY Financial we believe giving parents the resources they need to create a solid, financial future is the first step to success,” says Mike Fisher, Agency Field Executive of Market Development at COUNTRY. “We are proud to support the Spanish Coalition for Housing, which shares our vision of providing single parents with financial counseling, education and literacy. By helping these households, we’re working to ensure the success of not just these families, but also of their communities.”
With Anna’s guidance, Rosa learned that first she would have to clean up her existing credit before rebuilding her credit, and for the next year she committed herself to doing just that. “She really wanted the home for herself and for her children, so she made the necessary sacrifices to get it,” Anna says, recalling Rosa’s long journey of managing her spending and building her savings and credit.
When she signed the final paperwork 2 years after first coming to SCH, Rosa felt like she had entered the dream she had cherished for so long, and needed help waking up. ”I needed someone to pinch me!” she says. Luckily, her loan officer was there with a helping hand, and when the pinch didn’t wake her Rosa knew that at last her dream had come true.
Rosa recounts how her new home is perfect for her family: “I always wanted hardwood floors and I got hardwood floors. I always wanted a big kitchen and I got a big kitchen. My children are so happy, they each have their own bedroom. They have a humongous yard they can play in. My dog is happy too!”
With the information she learned at SCH about her credit, Rosa realized her dream of homeownership and established the lifelong skills that will ensure that her future in her dream home is long and bright. Rosa counsels her fellow dreamers to “be patient. It will happen to them. As much as they want it, they will succeed and get it.”