Raymond was referred to Housing Opportunities of Northern Kentucky (HONK) by his aunt, thinking that HONK might be a good agency to help Raymond find permanent housing and homeownership. Even with his limited income Raymond had maintained a very good credit score. That enabled HONK to help him secure down payment assistance.
“Raymond has the distinction of being in HONK’s lease to own program for only five months before qualifying to purchase his home,” said David Hastings, HONK Executive Director. “We are very happy for Raymond.”
“I’m so happy. I’m so grateful. God does wonderful things. I’m going to tell everyone about this. I love my house. The kids love it too. They are so excited to have their own rooms. I was living in an apartment before with 2-3 rooms on one floor. We had people above us and below us. We had to put up with the noise, the parties, people smoking in the hallway. We have so much room now. I open up my back door and I have a big back yard. I’m glad I finally followed my Auntie’s advice to come talk to HONK. God brings good people into your life for a reason,” said Raymond. “My mortgage payment is less than I was paying in rent. It just keeps getting better.”
Carlos, who is a legal resident immigrant from Colombia South America, works for Progress Rail Services. He came to HONK looking for permanent housing and a homeownership opportunity. “I wanted a place that was mine,” said Carlos. “A place for me and my kids to call home.”
“Carlos was always a hard worker. There was never any doubt about that,” according to Marcia Jennings, HONK’s Housing Counselor. “He’d work overtime to make sure he could pay all his bills and have some extra money to save for college for his children. He would return to his native country once a year also. The first thing Carlos did when he returned to his home after the closing was call his mother in Colombia to tell her the good news, that he now owns property!”
Carlos was able to purchase his house utilizing the American Dream Grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati and Kentucky Federal Savings and Loan in Covington, along with his accrued paydown during the lease period with HONK. “The mortgage payment was actually less than his rent payment had been to us,” said David Hastings, HONK’s Executive Director.
Pam came to HONK saying she hates where she lives and wants to be a homeowner. She said “my father bought a home in Florida when he was 71 years old. I don’t want to wait that long!” Pam was accepted into HONK’s lease-purchase program and moved into her home on West 9th Street in Covington.
“Pam was a very good person to work with,” said Marcia Jennings, HONK’s Housing Couselor. She did all the right things to get herself into this position and own her home.” Pam added, “HONK was wonderful to me during my lease period. They helped me from the beginning. I don’t know what I would have done without the down payment assistance that I earned during my lease time.”
With the accrued down payment and a very affordable mortgage with the Bank of America, Pam’s monthly house payment was less than her rent payment to HONK.
The house was quite an undertaking. It was purchased from an estate and had to be totally gutted and interior walls rebuilt to make them square as well as allow for adequate insulation. Creative redesign made the interior into a very nice two bedroom, one full bath home. It was originally built on crawl space (no real basement) and the previous owners hung the furnace from the floor joist. “Getting that old furnace out of there was a hard job in itself,” said Joe Gallenstein, HONK’s former Administrator. “Luckily our design for the house included space for the mechanicals to be more easily accessed.”
Phyllis is a homeowner in Covington’s Mainstrasse Neighborhood. HONK constructed two single family houses on existing vacant lots in the neighborhood. After reading the Best Water Softener Reviews she quickly implemented some water treatment into the projects. After completing construction and arranging for the respective sales, Phyllis allowed herself a break.
Phyllis is a single mother with two daughters and one son. “I moved around a lot before I moved in here,” Phyllis said. “I lived in City Heights for a while too,” she continued. She found about HONK from her step-mother, who is also a HONK homeowner.
Phyllis runs an in-home day care, so she was eager to get into her new home and place of business. She is excited and grateful for the opportunity to own her home. She is especially grateful to all the HONK volunteers that made affordable homeownership possible.
Phyllis is HONK’s first participant in Section 8 Home Ownership Program. Working closely with the Brighton Center’s Self-Sufficiency Program and HONK’s Housing Counselor, she was able to utilize a supportive housing voucher as a means to ownership rather than long term rental. With down payment assistance from the City of Covington, her dream of homeownership has become a reality. “Jeremy (Wallace, City of Covington) and Mary Ann (HONK) were great. They kept me focused on my goal and helped me understand that I could achieve it.” Phyllis said.
When asked how it feels to own her own home, she responded, “I don’t know if words can say how I feel. I am so grateful to HONK. I could have never fulfilled this dream without them. I am so blessed. I pray that my own children will one day grow up and own their own home, like me. God has so blessed me!”
Marlene & Peter
For Marlene, the house is special because it has the character that you don’t find in some of the new houses today.
Becoming a homeowner was very important to Marlene. Here is what she has to say:
“It was just a joyous experience signing my name on the papers and them saying this is your home. It’s a wonderful feeling and achievement to own your home despite the fear you may have of the responsibilities of it. You can take pride in the fact that it is yours.”
“It’s a realization of a dream, a legacy to be passed along to your children that they too can be homeowners with hard work and determination. From homeownership comes pride in your surroundings and in your community, which for some continues into business ownership in the community. This helps the community to thrive and grow.”
Marlene was eager to do her fair share in making homeownership possible. “I remember that first day she did her some of her sweat equity,” says Jack Goeke, HONK’s founding Director. “She jumped right in with the crew that was cleaning out a burned out house that had become a neighborhood dump and drug house. When I saw how hard she worked, I knew we had a real go-getter, someone who would succeed because she wanted it.”
Carmen’s experience with HONK may have just moved her into a home across the street from the apartment she was staying at in Covington, but the help she received from HONK has enabled her to make an even larger improvement in her life.
“The first thing I had to do was get out of some trouble I was in with credit cards,” said Hinkston, a 43-year-old single mother of one.
She started with HONK by entering the ‘Yes You Can’ program, where she learned about budgeting and tracking her finances.
Within three years her credit had improved enough that she was able rent a home on a trial basis to ensure she was ready for a home of her own.
“They let me rent it first before I could buy it,” she said. “Once I did that everything started rolling.”
Soon she was able to buy the house, but that did not end her involvement with the program.
“They don’t sell you a house and forget about you,” she said. “They stay with you. They give you a mentor.”
Hinkston said through her mentor she not only learned some basic home maintenance, but HONK has also been there for the repairs she and her mentor can’t handle on their own.
“When I had a problem I didn’t call a plumber, I called HONK,” she said.
Now Hinkston is always willing to tell anyone of her good experiences with HONK.
“Other people have asked me and I tell them HONK is a good program,” she said. “It is a wonderful program to be a first-time homebuyer in.”