After a quarter century of being a renter, a mother of four children felt she’d had enough. As she knew from working at a bank, each dollar she paid to a landlord to keep a roof over her family’s head would never find its way back into her pocketbook. This would only change if she owned her own house.
|THE ROBERSON FAMILY—Ejetta Roberson and her family in the living room of their new Mon Valley Initiative house in Swissvale. Pictured with their mother are Arrison Roberson, 12, Ainsley Roberson, 10, and Matthew Roberson, age 6.
Following counseling she received from the Mon Valley Initiative, things are now different. She’s secured a mortgage and her name is on the deed of a four bedroom, one-and-half bathroom renovated house in Swissvale. The house also comes with a large two-car garage.
“I’ve always wanted to own my home, but needed some help to guide me through the process and understand what loans were available,” said Ejetta Roberson, who closed on her house a couple weeks before Christmas. “Thanks to the Mon Valley Initiative, my family is going into the Holidays and into the future in a home of our own.”
Funded through grant monies provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, MVI’s Housing Counseling Program has assisted more than 1,200 families like the Robersons into their first homes since April 2004. The non-profit’s Real Estate Development Program has been rehabilitating and building affordable family housing for more than two decades throughout the Mon Valley.
According to Mike Mauer, the NeighborWorks® certificated housing counselor at MVI, the timing of Roberson’s completion of the program and purchase of her home was financially very fortunate.
“When I first meet with Ejetta in June 2006, probably the best interest rate she could have secured to purchase a home would have been around six-and-a-half percent,” said Mauer. “Today with the low mortgage rates that are available, her 30-year, fixed rate is under four percent.”
Mauer explained that over the life of the loan for the Roberson home, that would mean a savings of more than $50,000.
“That’s a nice hunk of change in anybody’s pocket book,” Mauer said.
Another benefit from her counseling was that Roberson learned that she was able to qualify for a fully renovated home with updated features and appliances. As part of a neighborhood stabilization program on Duquesne Avenue funded by Allegheny County and the PHFA, and developed by the MVI and Swissvale Economic Development Corporation, Ejetta’s home is one of several in the Kopp Glass Gateway Development. Located next to the Martin Luther King Jr. Busway in Swissvale, all of these homes have been built to incorporate the latest environmentally sound construction technologies while maintaining the historic integrity of the community.
“Going through MVI, I learned what mortgage loans were available and how I could qualify for them,” said Roberson. “I also found out about special home construction projects like the one in Swissvale. MVI was able to walk me through every step of the process, and show me how I could save more money for my family by being a home owner rather than a renter.”
Like Roberson, future homeowners are welcome to schedule individual appointments with MVI’s housing counselor and get information on upcoming MVI home construction. This includes homes not only being built in Swissvale, but also the Mon Valley communities of Homestead, Braddock, East Pittsburgh, Turtle Creek and Charleroi.
(For more information, call MVI’s housing counselor at 412-464-4000 x 4008, or visit www.monvalleyinitiative.com.)