Tuesday, October 26, 2010

In Their Shoes- the Journey from Renter to Homeowner: Gary and Terri

This was my very first interview with current participants in the IDA program.  Gary and Terri are a married couple with four children ranging in age from four to seventeen.  Despite their busy schedules of work and taking care of their children, they found the time to come into our office in the government building and speak to me and share their story- who they are, where they come from, and why they are in the program.  They just joined the New Century IDA and attended their first economic literacy class on October 4th, 2010.  I am very excited to present to you the first of our several part series of “In Their Shoes- the Journey from Renter to Homeowner.”  -Andriana Bicanin

Gary and Terri are current participants of the New Century IDA program.  They learned about the New Century IDA after talking to friends who have successfully gone through the program.  Their friends provide a source of support as people for whom they can go to if they ever have questions- their friends, family, and Church provide a guiding light through this new venture.  They have decided to go through this program for their own dreams, and to provide a home where their children may create lifelong memories.

Gary and Terri are parents to four children ranging in age from four to seventeen, and are actively involved with their children’s extracurricular activities.  When one member of their family isn’t playing football, they are cheering at football games; their two older sons play football, their daughter is a cheerleader, and when their youngest son turn five next year he will start football.  They are involved with Pop Warner football, and they spend their Saturdays driving their children to and from practice from the early morning to early evening.  For a while now their fellow parents in Pop Warner have urged them to join the Pop Warner board, which they have been fighting, but with a smile directed at Gary, Terri says she foresees them succumbing soon.

They currently rent a house and have not had any trouble renting, but due to the costs of renting a home and their dreams for owning their own home, they are very excited about the prospect of successfully purchasing a house.  They are currently paying over $1000 in rent and utilities and would like to see this go towards a home they can call their own.  Both Gary and Terri grew up in homes their families owned, and because of this they are even more motivated to purchase their own.  Terri is upset with herself for not purchasing a home sooner because she would like for her children to have the memories that only come with growing up in an owned home; and although their oldest son is leaving for college next year they still want him to know he has his own home to come home to.  Gary and Terri are both excited about not only what they can do with the house once it is theirs, but for the knowledge they will gain in the program.  Terri is surprised at how for years she has been budgeting incorrectly; in order to budget correctly one must account for every single penny spent.  She is looking forward to the knowledge she will gain in money management, budgeting, financing their home and paying bills, how to get into a home, and dealing with the difficulty of tracking every penny.  They are looking forward to passing this knowledge on to their children.  They want the ability to tell their kids that  owning a home is a big accomplishment that is within their capability.  Their kids know about their participation in the program, and are excited and ready for mom and dad to say, “We own our own- this is ours.  Instead of saying we got a house- instead of renting.”

They have exciting plans for their house and have home projects and dreams in mind.  Softly swaying in his seat, Gary said he would like to plant scrubs and flowers and do yard work, and shakes his head as he says he is unable to do that now.  He would also like to have a shed- a place in the back of the house where he can go to get away from the world and be by himself, because “That’s what it’s about.”  Terri lights up at the mention of a daycare she eventually wants to open in the house.  Although they have these dreams for their house, the projects and future home of their children, their faces wear the look of hesitation and they remain guarded over their excitement.  When asked if they have any fears regarding buying a home their response is,  “Of course.”  Different things come to mind with this question, such as: job security and health.  As Gary says, “Anything can happen at any time” but their biggest challenge, they say, will be themselves.  They are putting their heart and soul into owning a home for their children and themselves, and as Terri says smiling at Gary, “We are putting our all into this and nothing can hold us back so long as we stick together.”

Welcome to the New Century blog!

Welcome to the first post for the New Century IDA blog!  We hope to use this as a tool for communication with our community, current participants, alumni, sponsors, and anyone interested in IDA programs.  This is a new venture for the New Century IDA, so bare with us as we set up these media outlets and give you the most relevant information on finance, credit, savings, and stories from our participants, alumni, and those working behind the scenes at the New Century IDA.  We will also use this as a venue for discussion on new housing issues, and information in the world of credit and finance. 
An introduction is in order- my name is Andriana, and I joined the New Century IDA this past August as an AmeriCorps*VISTA member placed in the Forsyth County Department of Housing.  AmeriCorps*VISTA is considered the Peace Corps of the United States.  I will be here for one year pouring all my time into this wonderful organization.  A large part of the work I am doing with the New Century IDA is social media outreach, and letting the community, participants, and alumni know what's going on with the New Century IDA program.  I have already interviewed a few of our current new wave participants (individuals who just began the classes), and will be interviewing them throughout their exciting journey towards owning their own home.  These are the stories that make up the heart of the New Century IDA, these are the voices and experiences of people who are trying to make a dream for themselves and their families.  I am humbled to work for an organization that is spreading the tools needed to empower those with low and moderate income.  All people are worthy of taking hold of their life and owning a home, the New Century IDA is empowering these individuals through asset building and financial literacy so they can live out their dreams and take their piece of the American Dream.
I am not the only blogger for the New Century IDA.  You will hear from others in the organization; from our other VISTA Alexandra, who works at Experiment in Self Reliance, to directors of the nonprofits linked to the IDA program.  So please comment, question, enjoy, and discuss our postings, as well as let us know what *you* want to know, learn, and talk about!

I truly look forward to your comments and questions regarding housing and the New Century IDA.  Look out for a posting of the first interview I conducted with a lovely couple who are current participants in the IDA program.

Best,  Andriana