11.17.2022

Dreams to Reality: Homeownership


November

Navigating the housing world today is an undertaking. We’re here to help.

In this series, Dreams to Reality, we will hear from several Urban Edge clients who have experienced successes, whether that be in renting, buying, or affordably maintaining their homes. We’re so proud to have worked with these hardworking people, and we are thrilled to be part of the process of making their housing dreams a reality.

One of our services that we are most passionate about is providing families with the resources they need to purchase a home. As many of our clients will tell you, buying a home takes patience, resilience and determination. When the system is stacked against you, it’s hard to know where to start – and we’re here to make it a little easier.

This story comes from Geraldine Romulus, a mother, long time Boston resident, and first-time homeowner. 

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Geraldine Romulus moved to the United States from Haiti when she was just 8 years old. She was raised by her aunts and uncles. She saved her money. Now, she’s a homeowner.

Gerry’s mortgage closed on January 3rd, 2022, and she became the proud owner of a home in Saugus, MA. Gerry’s four kids now each have their own room which they are free to paint whatever color they want.

But the journey to homeownership wasn’t without struggles. 

“It was a happy moment, yet a frustrating one”.

Gerry began her homeownership journey with Urban Edge’s first-time homebuyer course, taught by Ginny Gilmartin. When she signed up, she wasn’t even sure about buying a home – she just figured, why not?

“You know when you want to do something, but you have no idea where to start? Urban Edge was the first to get me thinking about buying a home.”

After taking Urban Edge’s first-time homebuyer course, Gerry had information about all the aspects of homeownership and what to do to get there. 

“After I was done with that class, I felt like a different person” 

Gerry then connected with Gercide Luc, our Foreclosure Prevention Manager. Between the first-time homebuyer course and Gercide’s caring guidance, Gerry was ready to dive into homeownership. 

Purchasing a home had always been one of Gerry’s goals. She now had a better understanding of the process, and she had accumulated the funds. But there are always complications, and hers came in the form of banks. She had her funds distributed among several different banks, and collecting the money all in one location proved difficult.

In addition to the banks, there were the programs. Gerry started off with Medford housing, and then transferred to Somerville housing. At the last minute, Somerville housing was not able to let her into their homebuyer program, and to Gerry, that was the biggest challenge.

“It was heartbreaking. They’re giving you an opportunity to better yourself, but then they leave you on your own. I worked so hard to get where I am – for them to say no, we can’t help you … I felt like I was on my own.”

Sometimes you need someone fighting in your corner, and in Gerry’s case, that someone was an FSS (Family Self Sufficiency) worker.

“She was like the mother I never had. She pushed and pushed until we finally got the answer we wanted – they let me into the Somerville homebuyer program”.

Finally, Gerry was secured in the program, her funds were lined up, and Section 8 was set up to assist her with her mortgage payment. 

“It all felt worth it. You work hard, you achieve what you want, and you’re happy with what you got. I can honestly say that for my first home, I’m pleased with what I got”. 

To future homebuyers, wherever they are in the process, Gerry says: “Don’t rush it! Wait until you’re ready. Like my grandmother used to say, ‘You have to make your bed before you lay in it’. Take your time.” 

Gerry took her time, put in the hard work, leaned on her resources, and navigated an unfairly structured system. She landed in a house of her own.  

“Do it the right way and everything will fall into place. It might not fall into place when you want, or the way you want, but it will fall into place”.

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