When Samantha Jones began her journey toward homeownership in early 2021, she wanted to be prepared. She knew that for many her age and in her circumstances, homeownership was just a far off hope, a fantasy.
But she wanted her story to be different.
She started educating herself.
“I researched different kinds of mortgages, learned about what a realtor is supposed to do. I read about things to look out for when buying a house, average cost of a mortgage, how interest rates work. I also looked at City and State programs that provided down-payment assistance and did all of the recommended prep work to participate in those programs.” Samantha said.
That’s when she found Job Point’s Affordable Housing program and the two homes available for purchase. Unlike other homes in her price point, these were new construction, completed in 2020 by Job Point’s YouthBuild and Carpentry students with the supervision and support of instructors and industry professionals. They featured accessible and energy efficient design.
Meet two of the young women who helped build Samantha’s home:
By that time, she had already put in several offers on other homes in the area, but none of them had been accepted.
Like many homebuyers, she was outbid again and again.
Samantha put her bid in on the home in July 2021 and began the process of getting approved for the program and the purchase of the home.
“I was really on top of getting everything in order, but I wish I had known that I needed to meet with a counselor sooner. I got really lucky. They were able to get me in quickly,” Samantha said.
This time, Samantha’s offer was accepted and her dreams of homeownership were finally within reach.
After closing on her home in mid-2021, she says she is starting to feel settled and comfortable in her new space.
“Being a homeowner is great,” she said, adding that as a homeowner she feels a great sense of freedom in knowing that she is no longer beholden to a landlord and no longer has to worry about pet rent or deposits.
“The high cost of renting and pet deposits in Columbia motivated me to want to buy my first home,” Samantha Jones said. “As a millennial, I never expected to be owning a home ever. I knew how hard it could be, the down-payment assistance made a huge difference for me.”
“I would not be a home-owner if I hadn’t done that (program). The experience that I had is pretty typical of millennials and I feel really lucky owning a home at all. I wish it was easier in general for people to purchase a home,” Samantha said. “I was working in a seller’s market and that was even more challenging.”
With the down payment assistance, Samantha says that her monthly mortgage payment is now around $700 versus the nearly $1000 she was paying to rent smaller apartments before.
“My advice to anyone who wants to purchase a home is to educate yourself on what programs are out there. Ask every question, shop for a lender, do as much work as you can before you even begin the home search so that you don’t have to worry about it as much once you find the right house,”
“[Job Point’s] program is great. I highly recommend it for everyone,” she added.
Job Point Students Join the Fight to Reclaim the American Dream for themselves and their Community
The need for affordable housing in Columbia and Boone County is clear. With the growing prices of homes and the ever-increasing rental rates, it has become increasingly more difficult for both individuals and families to find safe, affordable housing.
Job Point is proud to help meet the need for safe, accessible, affordable housing by building houses that are safe, accessible and affordable for families and single homebuyers alike.
The past two homes built and sold through Job Point’s Affordable Housing program sold for $135,000. Comparable homes in the area were offered at $180,000 – $190,000. Additionally, homebuyers received 20% down-payment assistance.
Over the course of 2022 and 2023, Job Point adult trades students and YouthBuild participants will build two brand new, affordable homes in one of Columbia’s most impoverished neighborhoods – not only providing options for home ownership for income-eligible families, but revitalizing these communities in need.
Job Point’s targeted area is in Ward 1, which encompasses a significant number of public housing units and uninhabitable dwellings. This area is recognized as one of the poorest areas in our community and in desperate need of revitalization.
These two homes will be part of the Cullimore Cottages project, named posthumously after Dan Cullimore. The project is a result of the Columbia Community Land Trust, an organization that builds communities, stewards public resources and acts as a savings account for affordable housing.
Mr. Cullimore was a community activist. He was passionate about increasing affordable housing options and influential in the development of the Land Trust. He was also one of Job Point’s first construction instructors for our YouthBuild program back in the early 2000’s. We are honored to have been tapped by the City to build these two Cullimore Cottages in memory of our friend and community champion.
The impact of this project goes beyond the creation of two new affordable homes, it also provides an unparalleled opportunity to support our community and address the ongoing labor shortages through on-the-job training.
Job Point’s YouthBuild and Carpentry programs provide meaningful hands-on learning opportunities connecting classroom education and on-site construction training, under the direct supervision and instruction of industry professionals. Starting with safety training and basic instruction, students then apply the skills they are learning in the classroom by actually building houses. This is significant because it allows our students to not only enhance their knowledge through training, but enables them to acquire real-world experience that improves their employment opportunities and earning potential once they’ve completed our program. Our Affordable Housing program not only produces high-quality, affordable homes but experienced, well-rounded individuals who are ready to enter the workforce.