Chubbuck woman purchases home with help of homeownership voucher program
Release Date: 11/22/2010
(CHUBBUCK) A Chubbuck woman and her six children have much to be thankful for this holiday season. Ten years ago, Carey Jennings and her children were homeless. Now, they have moved into their new home just in time for the holidays with the help of the Homeownership Voucher (HOV) program. The family was eligible for this program because of their participation in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) rental assistance program through Idaho Housing and Finance Association’s Idaho Falls branch office. Jennings, who has received rental assistance for nine years, began to tally up how much she could have put toward a mortgage with the rent she had spent in that time. “Being a single mom, doing it on my own wasn’t an option,” Jennings said. “The extra assistance gave me the opportunity to buy a home.”
Through the HOV program, Jennings was able to purchase a four-bedroom home with a fully-fenced yard and plenty of trees, which was something her children had hoped for in a home. There’s a family room downstairs, which gives them some additional space. All in all, it’s a big change from the duplex they had rented previously. “It’s just nice to be in my own place, and to not have to keep my kids quiet because it might bother the neighbors,” Jennings said.
With the help of the HOV program, Jennings’ house payment is comparable to what she was paying for rent previously. Jennings was eligible for the HOV program because she was a participant in the HCV rental assistance program, and because she signed up for the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program, a voluntary program open to HCV participants who want to achieve financial independence. Jennings, who joined the FSS program about a year ago, began her path to self-sufficiency by meeting with a caseworker from IHFA. “It’s really great to meet with your caseworker once a month, someone who can help you through the financial aspects and give you information,” Jennings said. “It’s important to have someone there you know is on your side and helping you move forward in life.”
Jennings, who is employed at Idaho State University, has set a goal through the FSS program to pay off some of her debt in the near future. At the completion of the program, she will receive funds she’s saved throughout her participation, which will allow her to have some additional savings. “Carey just pulled herself up and got a great job,” said Stacy Swan, Jennings’ caseworker. “She’s worked hard to get where she is today.”
Homeownership Voucher participants can qualify for the same level of assistance in the homeownership program as they receive under HCV rental assistance guidelines – but apply these funds toward a mortgage rather than to rent. To participate in the HOV program, a participant must have been on the HCV program for a year, and be in good standing. There are a limited number of HOV slots open for IHFA HCV participants who are disabled or participate in FSS. Applicants for HOV must be able to generate a 1 percent down payment from their own resources and qualify for a loan with a participating lender.
Anyone currently participating in IHFA’s Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance program who would like to achieve economic independence and reach employment goals may enroll in the FSS program. Those who’d like to learn about the FSS or HOV programs in the Pocatello area can call the IHFA Idaho Falls branch office at 1-866-684-3756 or (208) 522-6002, or IHFA’s Boise office at 1-800-458-2791.
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