Three more new homeowners through innovative Newberry program

September 9th, 2020
Latanya Bowles at her Newberry home just after she closed on her mortgage

With three recent closings, the number of new homeowners created through our Newberry affordable homeownership program is now 28, adding to the momentum that is transforming the neighborhood as low-to-moderate-income families invest in their community and their own financial futures.

Newberry is an 8-block area in the Chadsey-Condon neighborhood in southwest Detroit. Southwest Solutions is transitioning 60 former rental properties in the area to affordable homeownership.

(top) Analisa Gomez signs her closing papers while her mom Diana watches. (bottom) Veronica Sanchez at her Newberry home just after she closed on it.

The three recent closings are all on 32nd Street. Latanya Bowles is one of new homeowners. She had been renting her house for six years before capitalizing on the opportunity to buy the home.

“At first I thought this deal is too good to be true, so I was hesitant,” said Latanya, 50.

Latanya had many questions for Todd Burk, who directs the mortgage lending program at Southwest Solutions. Todd explained the purchase price of $59,000 and how up to $20,000 in down payment assistance is available to renters deciding to become homeowners. The down payment assistance is a conditional grant made possible thanks to a $2.5M donation from the Sam L. and Judith G. Yaker Fund to the Newberry program. Latanya had been paying $507 a month in rent. Under the terms of her 15-year mortgage, Todd detailed, Latanya’s monthly payments, including taxes and insurance, would be $490.

“Todd patiently answered all my questions and earned my trust,” Latanya said. “I’ve always wanted in my heart to be a homeowner. It’s important. I can build equity and then pass the wealth down to my children.”

“I’m confident this home is a good investment and will be worth even more in time,” Latanya added. “The whole area is coming up. I have good neighbors. We all look after each other.”

Down the street, Veronica Sanchez and her two young daughters are moving into the Newberry home she just bought. The former rental house had been vacant until Southwest Solutions acquired and renovated it. Southwest Solutions’ YouthBuild program participated in the renovation. YouthBuild is a job-training and educational program that teaches young people construction skills.

Like all Newberry homebuyers, Veronica had to complete a Homebuyer Education class with Southwest Solutions as part of becoming mortgage eligible. The class is being offered virtually during the Covid crisis. Veronica took the class in July.

“I think this is a safe neighborhood, the house is nice, and it was affordable for me,” said Veronica, who works as a receptionist at an animal rescue clinic. “We already know our neighbors and we’re looking forward to living here.”

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