Army Veteran Becomes First-Time Buyer Through Housing Channel and Arlington's Homebuyers' Assistance Program
By Susan Schrock, Office of Communication
Posted on June 30, 2020, June 30, 2020

Yolanda LeBron was able to achieve her dream of owning her very own place-a brand new townhome at the Bel Air development on Abram Street-thanks to the City of Arlington’s Homebuyers’ Assistance Program and the guidance of the Housing Channel.

Yolanda LeBron, an Army veteran with a disability, is busy these days decorating and organizing her first home as one of Arlington’s newest homeowners.

LeBron was able to achieve her dream of owning her very own place-a brand new townhome at the Bel Air development on Abram Street-thanks to the City of Arlington’s Homebuyers’ Assistance Program and the guidance of the Housing Channel. In all, LeBron qualified for $35,000 in down payment and closing costs assistance after completing financial classes offered by the Housing Channel, a nonprofit housing organization whose mission is to revitalize distressed neighborhoods and to increase the amount of quality, affordable housing available to low- and moderate-income families and individuals with special housing needs.

“They were all fantastic people. They were in my corner,” said LeBron, who turns 64 in July. “I didn’t find it cumbersome or time consuming, it was very informative and very encouraging. I’m so blessed.”

Over the past year, Housing Channel staff helped 330 Arlington residents, including LeBron, to provide credit and financial counseling and other information needed to help them on their path to first-time homeownership, Housing Channel Executive Director Donna Van Ness said.

“Our mission is to help people overcome their challenges and create that wealth for themselves and future generations. It is the American Dream. Buying a home is one of the best ways to stop generational poverty and help build wealth for families,” Van Ness said.

Since forming in 1991, the Housing Channel has built or rehabbed nearly 4,000 homes all across Tarrant County. Many of their developments include down payment assistance grants to provide homeownership opportunities for working families who earn 80% less than the area median income. 

LeBron was one of the first residents to purchase a townhome with financial assistance at the Housing Channel’s new Bel Air on Abram development, which opened in November.

Bel Air’s first phase features five buildings with 16 townhomes that provided housing options with a range of price points and floorplans from $195,000 to $310,000. Through grants, qualified buyers such as LeBron were eligible for down payment assistance ranging from $7,500 to $35,000.

From red kitchen accents, rugs, curtains and house plants, LeBron said she is enjoying the time she and her son, Angimero Lebron, are spending together to make her new home cozy and comfortable. One of her favorite spaces is the garage. Another of LeBron’s favorite things is that she can now save about $500 a month now when comparing the mortgage payment on her $195,000 town home to what she had been paying in rent for her apartment.

“I say ‘Thank you, Heavenly Father.’ It’s a peace of mind and it’s mine,” LeBron said.

Van Ness said Housing Channel staff are already working to help individuals and families be prepared to become homeowners when future phases of Bel Air open. Two additional phases of the mixed-use development, which will eventually feature a total of 47 townhomes, a community green space, dog park and future commercial frontage along Abram Street, are planned.

“A great first step is to come to an orientation class,” Van Ness said. “You don’t have to be credit-worthy or mortgage-qualified right now. You can come to us and we will help you get to that point. Start now so that maybe in a year or two you will be ready.”

Click here to learn more about the Housing Channel.

The City of Arlington employs federal Community Development Block Grant funding to help create viable neighborhoods by providing decent housing, suitable living environments, and opportunities to expand economic development, principally for low- and moderate- income persons. The Home Investment Partnership grant provides affordable housing opportunities for Arlington residents, including but not limited to the first time homebuyers’ assistance, housing rehabilitation program for low/moderate-income homeowners and rental assistance for low-income households.

Click here to learn more about the Arlington Homebuyers’ Assistance Program.

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