Grant Money Helps Family
Over the past seven years, Ms. Bills has struggled with accomplishing her number one goal of becoming a homeowner. No matter how hard she tried, it felt like there was always something or someone holding her back. Her low credit score was not helping her and moving from place to place showed instability and poor rental history. Ms. Bills’ situation turned for the worse, her car got stolen which caused her to lose her job as a forklift operator; her optimism toward her future was being tested.
In her efforts of getting a family home, Ms. Bills had taken first time homeowner classes at least three times, hoping and praying that she could purchase a home. She just could not seem to find the source of all her problems, and before she knew it, she slipped into poor health with depression. Just when she thought things could not get any worse, her youngest daughter was diagnosed with a long term and life changing health issue. Having a special needs daughter was truly an eye opener for Ms. Bills, she realized that she was the only one in her children’s lives who could provide them with a safe and stable home they deserve. By 2012, her health conditions had improved and her renewed spirit helped her focus on what was important for her children.
For the past three years of her life, she has worked extremely hard in rebuilding her credit score, she paid off her mini-van and stabilized her living arrangements to build an excellent rental status. In 2013, she received her CDL’s and is proud to be working for Columbus City Schools as a bus driver. As a member of East Columbus Development Company’s “RICH” IDA Program, she became more financially literate and a habitual saver. She completed Financial Fitness classes, and the First-Time Homebuyers classes. Ms. Bills expressed, “This has honestly been a challenging journey over the past seven years, but thanks to the ECDC program and all their support… I made it!” A single mother from Youngstown, Ohio who was determined to accomplish her number one goal and now owns her own home! Prayer Works!
ECDC, Franklin County Economic Development and Planning Department, PNC Foundation & PNC Bank
Sawyer Manor Community Center
East Columbus Development Company, Inc.
940 Caldwell Pl.
Columbus, Ohio 43203
East Columbus Development Company First Time Home-Buyer Program
McQuetta Williams’ story cannot be summed up in an article. We only select the most remarkable stories and hers is certainly worth it. In 2006 she was hit with an illness that led to her losing 3.5 units of blood; resulting in her becoming legally blind. She suffered from depression because she was not able to do every day normal activities such as shopping, cooking meals and cleaning. By 2011 she managed to enroll in school and attend while working a part time shift at night. Her desire to be a homeowner ignited and she went off to Mid Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) to complete the homebuyers program to help with finance assistance. Though they didn’t have any funds for her, they guided her to East Columbus Development Company (ECDC).
She completed the Individual Development Account Program (IDA) at ECDC and she was ready to apply her grant money for first time home buyers. She brought both certificates from ECDC and MORPC to the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority (CHMA), got back in touch with a realtor she felt comfortable with from a year prior and she was on her way. She had 60 days to find a home through CMHA’s Choice Program, and although things got uncertain from obstacles, she found out she had a near perfect credit score. She ended up looking at four houses until she found the one she wanted. There was no need to look further, she spoke out loud, “that is my house” and the realtor prayed on it alongside her.
The house in now hers, she completed the IDA program in 2013 and got the house the same year. The home is in a very recent built development with all the features she was looking for. McQuetta also got her B.S. degree in 2013 with an emphasis on social work and business. She recently completed her magazine to help give back to the Dress For Success organization, and she wants people to know how much they helped her. The Magazine is called EnVision Proven Success and volunteers from many organizations came together to help complete the project. She has an aide that helps her with her daily tasks, and with all the passion it took for her to get to where she is today, she is even more devout in her faith that God has a hand in her life.
– Cyrus L.R.
Grant Money Helps Student Attend College
East Columbus Development Company Individual Development Account – Kiana Gordon Story (Education)
It was 2010 when Kiana felt very strongly in her heart to attend Valor Christian College in Columbus Ohio. She had heard about it a year prior through friends and at that time she lived in Camp Springs, Maryland so it was a shock that she was even considering to attend the college. She knew it was the Lord drawing her to Valor because she struggled with so much fear of making this huge transition. Maryland was all she knew! She grew up in Maryland… went to school in Maryland…. her family and friends were in Maryland. Torn between excitement and fear, she filled out an application and was accepted into Valor! After prayer she moved from Maryland to Ohio in 2012 to attend. It was a leap of faith as she did not know how she would fully pay for tuition. Financial Aid was not offered for a school like this so some creative financing had to be done.
Her second and third semester were really tough because she did not have any financial support. She worked and put as much money as she could towards her balance but in the third semester, there was still a huge balance. She met with a financial adviser at Valor who introduced her and led her to East Columbus Development Company (ECDC) IDA program where she could save $1000 and be matched 2:1 so that $3000 could be applied toward her tuition. Kiana took advantage of this opportunity and once she saved $1000 dollars, all funds ($3000) were paid to Valor Christian College! “What a relief” she said.
With just a semester away from graduation, through a work study program, ECDC and sponsorship from her church, family and friends she was able to pay for room and board along with her education.
Kiana already has a degree in Sociology from a University but she knew completing the 2 year Bible College was part of God’s plan for her. Her concentration is in Pastoral Leadership and we are excited to show support from ECDC and help her achieve her goals.
Kiana stated “Not only di dthe ECDC IDA program help her pay off the third semester balance, but it also gave her the opportunity to attend classes that taught her how to budget, save money, improve credit, and so much more! “Participating in this savings program made a BIG difference in my life and I met so many wonderful people. I am SO GRATEFUL! Thank you East Columbus Development Company for offering hope to those in needs!”
The future seems promising for Kiana and we were excited to have a hand in the outcome. All of her hopes and dreams were made possible through the sponsorships and funding of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Franklin County Economic Development and Planning Department (CDBG), City of Columbus Department of Development and PNC Bank.