Success Story - What dreams may come

Homeownership becomes a reality

In Chicago, just as in other cities around the country, most of us pay rent month after month with the hope that someday we will have a place to call our own. Lately, with economic challenges and news of precarious lending practices, homeownership is becoming ever more of a challenge. But in 2007, Mindy Joy Mayer and PamElla Fettig achieved the dream of owning their own home. Mayer and Fettig secured a home in Chicago’s Jefferson Park Neighborhood after getting involved with Access Living’s Homeownership Program.

Launched several years ago, the Homeownership Program is a coaltion of housing counseling agencies, lenders and disability organizations that is making the difficult path to homeownership easier to navigate for people with disabilities. Coalition members have identified traditional obstacles to homeownership, for example the adverse affects of medical collections on credit ratings, and have tailored a unique lending product that helps people with disabilities navigate the barriers.

Over the past few years, scores of families and individuals with disabilities have found their own home through the program. In fact, Mayer and Fettig represent a significant milestone. They are the 50th successful home placement through the program. Reflecting on the journey to homeownership, Fettig said, the program “put us in good hands (and) with the right people to fulfill all levels of homeownership.”

In addition to being the 50th home placement, Mayer and Fettig are also the first people who are Deaf to complete the program. Through their work with Access Living, the housing counseling agency, and the lender, they were able to find a place to meet their needs. “(We) found just the home were looking for. . . We are so appreciative to the great assistance, guidance and choices given to our process of homeownership.”

Today, the Coalition continues to work with families to make homeownership a reality. If the success of Mindy Joy Mayer and PamElla Fettig is any indication, the group will soon celebrate 100 successful placements.

There are a number of ways to get involved. Once a month, Access Living hosts a homeownership seminar, at which prospective homebuyers can meet with lenders and counselors, and get involved with the program. Access Living also coordinates a monthly support group called The ABC Club for program participates to strategize around asset building.
Jeanne Sherman