Jeff Powell was raised in Blacksburg, VA but he spent a good portion of his life out in the Rockies and Wyoming where he worked drilling water wells. He then turned his focus on building homes until he suffered two spinal injuries, one while at work and another from a major car crash. He moved back to Virginia where he was living in a small apartment for eight years. “I’m 62 years old. My wife passed away four years ago. I’ve dealt with and beaten cancer. I’m disabled. I was tired of living in an apartment, but I never thought it was going to be possible for me to own a home again.”
Misinformation about purchasing a home is one of the obstacles families in Appalachia face. In Mr. Powell’s case, he believed that since he was older and disabled, lending institutions would instantly say no to his loan application. There are many popular myths about homeownership including that you can’t be a student, you must have perfect credit, and loans require huge down payments.
Many people in Appalachia are unaware that there are organizations that educate and assist people on their journey of obtaining affordable homeownership. People also don’t realize that there are many different types of loans available if specific guidelines are met, such as being a veteran or living in a rural area. Many Fahe Members offer homebuyer education classes that focus on improving your credit score, home maintenance, budgeting, as well as financial assistance. They work to dispel the myths of homeownership and help families and individuals who are ready take the steps to acquire a home.
Luckily for Mr. Powell, he stopped listening to the misinformation and called Community Housing Partners (CHP). “I was talking with my friend and he said there is an organization around here that may help you get in a home and I figured it wouldn’t cost me anything but my time.”
It turns out that with Mr. Powell’s credit score, his modest income would in fact allow him to own a home again. “I’m just happy as a pig in mud,” said Mr. Powell. “CHP was shocked that I’m debt free. I’m not cheap, but I drive a 14-year-old pickup truck that looks like it came off the showroom floor. I take care of my stuff and if I want something, I get it, and I don’t get anything else till it’s paid off. I would tell anyone who is looking for a home to clean up their credit and show that they really want the home and I think they could do it.”
Since moving into his new home, Mr. Powell immediately set to fixing up the house including improving the landscaping and installing a new porch rail. Once a week he walks through the neighborhood picking up debris and trash to help keep his community clean.
“The experience was quite painless. Everyone I spoke with has been very friendly and down to earth and it made it a really comfortable experience and I’m very happy with everything.“