Five years ago, Brittany Bennett and her two young sons lived in a shelter for the homeless on New York Avenue. And while she often dreamed of purchasing a home, she also spent many sleepless nights wondering how her dream could become a reality.
Homeownership meant “stability” – something she badly craved for her children and herself.
So, as she said, she held on to her dream and began to search for ways that would allow her to begin building “generational wealth.”
With patience and great resolve, she would discover that help was available and she took full advantage of it.
“I went from being homeless for three years to becoming a homeowner within one,” she said proudly.
Her path to homeownership first took shape in 2017 when a loan officer told Bennett about the Home Purchase Assistance Program (HPAP
), which is managed by the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). It provides interest-free loans and closing costs assistance to qualified applicants to purchase single-family homes, condominiums, or cooperative units in the District.
Since 1978, HPAP has served more than 7,700 District households and provided over $210 million in down payment and closing costs assistance.
Bennett worked with her loan officer while holding down three jobs to better her chances of meeting mortgage eligibility requirements. She went through the process, which she describes as “tedious and stressful,” before becoming eligible in the fall of 2018 when she submitted her application. Bennett succeeded and said she remembers being elated upon realizing that she had grown one enormous step closer to fulfilling her dream of being a D.C. homeowner.
That December, when she first saw her 3-bedroom condominium in Southeast at the River East at Grandview Estates II on Talbert Street, she said she knew “it was everything I wanted.”
With keys in hand, she and her sons moved in a few days after Jan. 31, 2019. But within just a few short months, her dream became a nightmare.