Over the past couple of weeks, we have heard stories about renters who became buyers and home owners in the original footprint, who were able to reinvest their replacement housing benefit into a new house in the community. This week we will learn about Lynn Rogers' participation in the House for House program.
Explaining why this neighborhood means so much to her, Rogers commented:
"I've lived around this way for the past fifty years or better. I've been a paraprofessional for the Baltimore City School system for the past 25 years."
She currently works for the East Baltimore Community School in the EBDI footprint.
"There's a lot of history. This is where my grandparents lived and my mother got married. This is the third generation of our family living here," Rogers continued.
Rogers is a perfect example of how family advocates have been able to work with residents to make difficult situations advantageous. Rogers came to our Family Advocates for advice while dealing with significant financial difficulties. She had fallen behind on her mortgage payment and was at risk of losing the house she had worked so hard to buy.
Family Advocate Al Barney explained:
"Our job is not to judge anyone. We face each resident exactly where they are, and we work to figure out what the issues are and how we can correct those issues, make referrals and schedule follow up to achieve our goals."
EBDI Family Advocates helped Rogers reach an agreement with her lender to keep her house, which made participating in the House for House program possible.
Rogers talks about her experience with the advocates:
"The advocates helped me with a little bit of everything. They helped me keep my old house until I got the one I'm living in now. I was in financial difficulty and they were willing to work with me to help me get back on track. After that, everything else just fell into place."
House for a House provides homeowners with the opportunity to remain in the community through purchasing a fully rehabbed home in the project area. EBDI Acquisition and Relocation teams work with residents to facilitate settlement with the City and obtain the fair market value price for their existing home. These funds, along with their replacement housing benefits, can be applied towards buying a new home.
"Everything worked out better than I anticipated,” Rogers noted. “The services here at EBDI have been really good for me. I have nothing but good things to say about it. I was even allowed to pick my own contractor. Having a say so in the building of the house is excellent. My daughter and I discussed everything we wanted; and everything we discussed...we got that and more."
Barney puts into perspective why these outcomes mean so much to him, saying:
"I have a vested interest in this. I'm from East Baltimore. I went to elementary, middle and high school there, and have family that still live in East Baltimore."
Barney's enthusiasm is felt throughout the EDBI workforce.
“It's truly vested in my heart. I want to make sure that, when this project is over, Al Barney can walk out of here and hold his head high and say, ‘I gave it my best.’ And at this point, my head remains high," he concluded.
Thank you for reading this weeks email. Please take the time to watch the video and hear Lynn Rogers story first hand.