Tomika Artis: From Harvey to Homeownership

When Hurricane Harvey destroyed the home of Tomika Artis, she and her two daughters were no strangers to starting over. In the past decade, the girls lost their big sister and their father, as well as their great grandmother who also lived with them. In Tomika’s words, she credits her “incredibly understanding and resilient” children for keeping her motivated to overcome this most recent challenge.

After the storm passed, they had lost their car, their home and most of their possessions. In the days that followed, like many others, they stayed with extended family, and once that living situation became too crowded, they moved to hotels. Tomika had been paying out of pocket for them to live in hotels for nearly two years, and uses ride sharing services to get around.

The biggest motivation for Tomika to get back on her feet was her daughter Krissy. She graduated from high school this year and Tomika wanted to provide a real home to come back to after graduation. She said “My kids have been through a lot and have remained positive through it all - they deserve a home.”

As she started on her path to home ownership, her mortgage lender referred her to the NeighborhoodLIFT® down payment assistance (DPA) program offered by Avenue. After qualifying, she was awarded a $15,000 DPA grant and the LIFT team at Avenue worked with Tomika and her lending company to ensure she had a clear path to closing.

Tomika closed on her home May 31, 2019, just in time for Krissy’s graduation. They are all looking forward to spending time together at home before Krissy makes her way to LSU where she plans to study kinesiology. When asked what she was most looking forward to in her new home, Tomika’s answer was simple: “I’m looking forward to providing stability for my girls, not worrying about living in someone else’s home, creating new memories with my girls and being able to relax in my own space.”

She is proud to set the example for her girls – showing how with perseverance and dedication, they can achieve anything they put their mind and positive effort into.

It was our pleasure to be a part of Tomika’s homebuying journey and we wish her the best of luck in her new home!


NeighborhoodLIFT® is a collaborative effort between Wells Fargo, local nonprofits, and NeighborWorks® America (NWA). The program provides down payment assistance grants, homebuyer counseling and education, and Local Initiatives and LIFT the Block grants focused on supporting efforts to revitalize housing markets. Participating NeighborWorks America network members have prepared more than 60,000 people with home buyer education. The 2019 NeighborhoodLIFT program follows the 2012 program that created 422 homeowners with a $9 million philanthropic commitment by Wells Fargo. Funds are still available for eligible homebuyers.
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