As a child of migrant parents, Jessica Florez spent much of her time growing up in Michigan. Her family would drive from their place in Texas for the harvesting season for fruits and vegetables. Jessica recalls vividly helping to pick apples and radishes when she was old enough to do so. She never suspected back then that she would one day put down roots in our state.
Because of the itinerant lifestyle, Jessica was not able to complete high school. When she became an adult, she did landscaping work to earn a living. After her second child, she decided to attain her GED to open opportunities to better support her family. She then went to vocational school and became a dental assistant.
“I’ve become more focused in my life on my goals for myself and my kids,” said Jessica, 36. “I also want to make sure that I invest in something of value that I can give to them to help them later. That’s why it was important for me to become a homeowner.”
Jessica is the 38th new homeowner through our innovative Newberry affordable homeownership program. Newberry is an 8-block area in the Chadsey Condon neighborhood in southwest Detroit. Here, Southwest Solutions acquired 60 single-family homes that were rental properties and is transitioning them to homeownership for low-to-moderate income families.
Jessica purchased her Newberry home for $62,000. Like all Newberry homeowners, she received down payment assistance thanks to a generous donation from the Sam L. and Judith G. Yaker Fund to support the Newberry program. Jessica’s monthly mortgage payment for the 15-year loan is $729, with taxes and insurance rolled in.
“This is less than what I was paying in rent before, and now I have a chance to build equity as the property values increase in our neighborhood,” Jessica said.
After she settles in, Jessica plans to further her education by obtaining an associate’s degree, leading to other career options and setting an example for her children.