Creating Sustainable Homeowners with NeighborhoodLIFT

Mr. Earl Hughes will turn 71 years old this month. For the first time in many years, he will be celebrating in a home that he owns.

Mr. Hughes is a jovial man, with tons of energy, humor and zest for life. When he invited us into his home to talk about his journey to homeownership and the LIFT down payment assistance program, he was extremely grateful to have a place to call his own again. When he first arrived in Houston 7 years ago, he spent some time crashing on couches with friends, then eventually sleeping in his car before a VA case worker was able to find him a place to stay through a special housing voucher program for veterans.

After a few years in the voucher program, Mr. Hughes became interested in purchasing a home. He looked into various existing programs for homeownership assistance but had difficulty navigating the requirements on his own. Because of these barriers, he had nearly given up on buying a house.

In a lucky turn of events, his former VA caseworker - now a realtor - reached out to see if he might be interested in buying a home through a new program introduced in Houston. From there, Mr. Hughes was connected to a lender who referred him to Avenue’s First-time Homebuyer Class. After taking the class, and as a military veteran, Mr. Hughes was eligible to receive $17,500 from the Houston NeighborhoodLIFT down payment assistance program, which he was able to layer with $30,000 from the City of Houston program.

He closed on his house in 2019.

Although it was a long journey to home ownership, Mr. Hughes believes his patience and diligence paid off. He shared that the best part of home ownership is the extreme satisfaction to have something that is completely his own. His favorite thing to do these days is sit outside on his patio and drink tea.

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