A couple of months ago, Candace Sims was anxious about where she and her two sons would live. The house she had been renting in Detroit had been sold, and owners were moving in. Candace knew that the rental market in the city was tight, and that finding a place suitable and affordable for her family would be very difficult.
“Though I was looking for another house to rent, I’ve always wanted to be a homeowner, but I didn’t think it would be possible for me,” said Candace, 36. “Society teaches us to work and work to make a living. But we are not taught how to build wealth. Now I can because of this amazing opportunity!”
The opportunity that Candace received came from Southwest Solutions’ 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.
Candace is the 39th new homeowner through the Newberry program. Candace purchased her home for $62,500. 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. Candace’s monthly mortgage payment for the 15-year loan is $745, with taxes and insurance rolled in. This is less than what she had been paying in rent.
As part of qualifying for the Newberry program, Candace took the Homebuyer Education Class at Southwest Solutions. She also made a determined effort to repair her credit score, which had fallen to around 500 because of accumulated debt, including the student loans she took out to get her bachelor’s degree three years ago.
“I was ecstatic when I got the keys to my new home,” said Candace, who works for a property management company. “It’s something that I‘d hoped and prayed about for so long that when the moment arrived, it felt unreal.”
“I think about the long road to get here,” Candace continued. “Being a working mom, living a life of just having enough to pay the bills and get by. Never getting ahead. The future feels bigger and brighter now, and I know my sons are also very proud to have a home of our own.”