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Within minutes of learning of the District of Columbia Housing Authority’s Homeownership Assistance Program, James Black was walking through the doors at the Office of Resident Services to apply.

“I wanted to show my kids there are other opportunities out there, not to just live off the voucher,” he said. “I wanted to show them the steps of becoming a homeowner and making that choice.”

Black, who has been a DCHA customer for eight years, recently bought a three-story home in Henson Ridge. He said he is proud to be the first male homeowner in his family.

Former HCVP Specialist Jeannette Brittingham told him about the program. She showed him where ORS was and he immediately signed up for the Family Self Sufficiency program.

“He was on the fast track when he signed up for FSS,” said Trinita Tyler, homeownership coordinator. “His income was where it needed to be. He went to Lydia’s House for home buyer education, received Home Purchase Assistance Program notification, and worked on his credit. Once those criteria were satisfied, he signed a contract with me to search for his home.”

There were classes on financing, mortgages, how to pay down mortgages, and how to pick a realtor.

“I had to get my credit straightened out,” said Black, a six-year Department of Public Works technician. Once that happened, “I was more ready to participate in the [HOAP] class and move forward.”

He said the class was a learning experience that helped him focus on each step of the program. He also said the classes taught him how to look for houses and how to set a budget.

“It opened the doors for me to have a home of my own, so my kids can always come home,” said the father of seven, between the ages of 17 and 23. “When things don’t go right, they have a home to come home to. When things go right, they can get back out there and try it again.”

Black did whatever his real estate agent, DCHA homeowner specialist, or partner agencies’ advisors told him to do. If they needed paperwork, he brought it. If there was a meeting, he attended, Black said. It was a competitive market and Black was outbid five or six times for homes.

“Once I got turned down, I called Ms. Tyler. She showed me I wasn’t the only one who wanted the house,” Black said. “So then I’d try again.

He continued, “I want to thank Ms. Tyler. I would’ve given up if it wasn’t for her.”

His realtor, Muriel Tschita, also was a big help and provided lots of advice, he said.

Black was dealing with a very competitive market, looking for below market rates and a low downpayment options, Tyler said. He also had to have a property ready for move-in. He couldn’t afford a fixer-upper, she said.

“It is good that people know they can buy affordable in D.C. but you have to be willing to roll your sleeves up and fight,” she said.

“When I finally signed papers and went back to the house, I called my whole family – my immediate family – and told them I had the house,” Black said with a smile. “I invited them all over.”

He added, “My mother isn’t here. I would love for her to see this opportunity…that I got a home.”

Black said he plans to hold a housewarming party in the summer.

“I’m trying to decide if I should start at the top and work my way down or start at the bottom and work my up,” he said regarding decorating. “There are some changes I want to do with the house. I’m excited about the house.”

Now his friends and family are enrolling in the program.

“I started and they are following in my footsteps,” he said.

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Homeownership Coordinator Trinita Tyler with new homeowner James Black.
Last modified: 2/25/2016 11:18:28 AM