Dreams to Reality: Homeownership

Rita’s Story

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 Rita Gorman, who by advocating for herself and her family, succeeded in keeping their family home in their possession.


Growing up, Rita always had a family home. Her house was not only a space for her family, but also a landing place for anyone who needed it. Rita’s mom always took in people who didn’t have a place to stay – their house was “a place where someone always had a home”.

Later in life, Rita ran into trouble paying the mortgage. She was suddenly being asked to pay the full amount owed on the loan. When her parents passed, the house wasn’t transferred to her name – her parents left no will, so Rita had no rights over the home. 

Rita found Urban Edge through her job as a hairdresser. One of her clients, Cheryl Thompson, works with Urban Edge and recommended our services. 

So Rita set up an appointment with Gercide Luc, and learned that her financial situation was even worse than she thought. Meeting with Gercide and disclosing the whole complicated situation felt like “spilling all your secrets.” 

“You don’t know if you’ll have a home, you’re crying…Gercide got me a box of tissues, some water, and told me we would figure this out together”.

Together, they made a budget plan and began the process of getting the loan redone. Rita got a lawyer to make her the executor of the estate. All of her family members signed on, giving Rita the power to make decisions around the house. 

With Gercide’s help, Rita got the loan renegotiated with a low interest. After a few years, she got a home equity line of credit. 

Now, after 3 years of processing, meetings, and paperwork, Rita and her home are in good shape. “I don’t owe very much, I’m doing repairs, and little by little, I’m getting out of the hole.” 

To Rita, the biggest challenge was making the first phone call. “You feel so lost. You find out all this information and it hits you like a ton of bricks. It feels like the whole world is caving around you. Making the first phone call is the hardest part. It’s embarrassing — it feels like you’re exposing yourself, practically stripping your soul. You want to bury your head in the sand but you can’t”.

In hindsight, Rita is so glad she picked up the phone. “Everyone is so secretive around finances. Taking the first step didn’t feel good, but then I realized lots of people have gone through it. So take the first step! There are kind people out there to financially guide you. It can’t hurt to talk to somebody”.

Today, the house is still in her family’s name. Rita plans on keeping it that way. “I want the house to always be available in case someone needs a home”.