When you hear the words “there is no place like home” we automatically make the connection to The Wizard of Oz. Those 6 words do in fact hold true but recently the Belmont CDC organization allowed me to add a spin to that most famous of all movie lines….” There is no place like YOUR OWN home”. After being a lifelong renter, always dreaming about one day owning my own home that reality finally came into fruition on December 13th. That was the day I closed on my dream house, in my dream location the Villa Heights section of Charlotte NC. My home buying experience was a two-year process that required patience, faith, good stewardship, due diligence and guidance from the Housing Counselor, who also was Mrs. Greene, this was an important educational process that was helpful in helping me understand (homeownership);

The irony of my road to home ownership began by a meeting in the office of housing code enforcement for the city of Charlotte. I was there to discuss the housing conditions of the apartment I was renting. The conditions were deplorable and the city assisted me with getting my landlord to get my apartment up to code. Little did I know a couple of months later I would be in that same office building meeting with Carlene Greene, Program Manager – Housing Counselor with Belmont CDC to discuss becoming a homeowner. At the time I was in school full time working on my teacher's license at UNCC and working part time at the airport. In 2014 I had no idea that I could afford a home but Mrs. Greene informed me that the program was designed to help people like myself with low to moderate incomes achieve their dream of home ownership. I often joke with Mrs. Greene and let her know she was/is my Glinda “the good witch” that helped me follow the yellow brick road to see the “OZ” Reginald Jones the Executive director of the program. These are two people I feel a great deal of gratitude towards because without them and their program I would never be in the home I’m in now.

When I would stop by the office to get updates on the house rehabilitation and/or provide required paperwork, it was always Mrs. Greene who would discuss the progress of the home. I wouldn’t see Mr. Jones when I stopped by the office but I always knew and had faith that I was being taken care of to get in my new home. Although my mind was set on the house on 2233 Pinckney Ave Mrs. Greene offered me several different properties that would be ready before the house on Pinckney. I would graciously decline those and she continued to promise me that she would keep the house on Pinckney Ave for me...and kept her promise she did.

Eventually all the T’s were crossed, the I’s were dotted and the house was ready for me to move into. The staff at Belmont CDC worked closely with my realtor and my loan officer to make the completion of this achievement seamless. Today I celebrate with my daughters, and family in achieving the American dream of home ownership. In 2016 I was able to get my teaching license, and what is awesome about that is I teach in the same neighborhood that I live in. Many of the underserved children of Dillehay Courts housing development that I teach at Druid Hills academy live less than a half mile away from me. They are now my neighbors and I see them and their families in the local grocery stores regularly.

I feel like the luckiest man on Earth and I have so much to be grateful for. I am a testament that if you set a goal, formulate a plan, stick to that plan, have faith in yourself, God and the goodness of mankind your dreams can come true. It is my aim moving forward to continue telling my story in hopes that I may inspire others to achieve their desire to one day own a home. Although it may sound cliché my message will always be simple “There is no place like Your OWN home and if I can do it so can you”.