Priscilla Wiggleton plans to get her townhome painted over spring break. She also is getting a kitchen island on wheels with a marble top to match the rest of her kitchen. There are still a few things left to unpack in the basement, but she is deliberately taking her time to make sure everything has its right place in her new home.

Wiggleton signed the contract on her townhouse in Southeast just after Thanksgiving. She is a graduate of the District of Columbia Housing Authority’s Family Self-Sufficiency and Housing Choice Voucher Homeownership programs.

“I said I was going to push and push until I can get this house,” Wiggleton said. She had promised her three daughters they were going to move out of their apartment into their own home. “I almost gave up it was so much paperwork. I almost gave up, but I kept pushing through.”

A little more than two years ago, Wiggleton had come into DCHA’s offices for her Housing Choice Voucher Program recertification when she overheard another client talking about buying a house. After speaking with a coordinator, she joined FSS and was on her way.

FSS requires a five-year commitment between DCHA and the customer. With the help of DCHA, customers build their credit, learn about managing finances, and buying a home, among other topics. Often the voucher can be used towards purchasing a home. DCHA also sets up escrow and savings accounts to help the client save money towards the down payment and future maintenance. Through classes and counseling, clients put themselves in the right mental and financial position to own a home.

“FSS requires a five-year contract, but some people meet their goals sooner than others,” said Trinita Tyler, Housing Choice Voucher Homeownership Program Coordinator.

Wiggleton is one of those success stories. After a full day of working with special-needs children at a local school, she would go to Lydia’s House for her home buyers program, which included credit counseling classes. On weekends, she was at the United Planning Organization for her money management classes. She opened a personal savings account with direct deposit from her paycheck.

“I was determined to get out of the apartment so I packed up the boxes…and lived out of them for seven months,” Wiggleton said. “When it was time to go, we were ready.”

Unlike most home purchases, buying with DCHA and District help requires three home inspections.

“We make sure when they move into the home it is worry free,” Tyler said. “Three sets of eyes have gone through to make sure it meets inspection standards.”

There were some bumps in the road. The first house she tried to buy appraised too high for her budget. But the second ended up being a better fit for Wiggleton and her family.

Tyler and the DCHA family kept Wiggleton focused, she said. DCHA and its partners offer post-purchase support and counseling, as well.

“You get the full benefit of the effort and investment you have made in your life,” Tyler said. “FSS has a tremendous wealth of empowerment partners whose classes are unsurpassed by any other.”

If Wiggleton –or any other FSS client—ever need more help understanding their mortgage adjustments, or furthering their job training and other programs that encourage self-sufficiency, Tyler and her colleagues are there.

“You are always a client,” Tyler said.

But Wiggleton wants future clients to know that all of the hard work paid off when she walked into her own home with her daughters.

“I don’t understand why the younger generation has not stepped out and tried purchasing their own. Have something for your children to fall back on,” she said. “I stepped out on faith. You can do it. I did it.”


Priscilla Wiggleton enjoys spending time with her family in her kitchen.
Last modified: 3/2/2015 2:11:25 PM