In the morning, Charline Ogbeni and her husband, Peter closed on their first house purchase. Then they headed back to the Queensbridge apartment Charline called home her entire life, packed their things, and moved that evening, too excited to end the day any other way.
The Ogbenis purchased their new home through the Small Homes Rehab-NYCHA Program, which develops vacant, city-owned, one-to-four family houses into affordable homeownership opportunities for low- to moderate-income homebuyers. The program will help about 100 families become homeowners. So far, 13 NYCHA residents have closed or are expected to close on single-family homes.
“This has been a priceless experience,” Mrs. Ogbeni said. “I don’t have to return the keys, this is really my home. It has been an amazing experience pursuing my dreams of homeownership and I had a lot of help along the way.”
The properties in the Small Homes Rehab, mainly in Brooklyn and Queens, were acquired from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD); many of them have been vacant for 20 years. The homes undergo gut renovation by a non-profit developer with funding from Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). The Ogbeni home was rehabilitated as part of a multi-home project that received funding from HPD, JP-Morgan Chase, and the New York State Affordable Housing Corporation.
Now that Mrs. Ogbeni’s homeownership dreams are a reality, she is dedicated to helping others achieve the same dream. In April, she hosted a homeownership workshop for parents and colleagues at Mott Hall Bridges Academy, the middle school in Brownsville, Brooklyn, where she works as a school counselor. “It’s not just about you making it through the door, but keeping the door open and seeing who you can bring with you to help them reach their homeownership dreams, too,” she said.
NYCHA residents interested in homeownership education should contact the REES Office at 718-289-8100. The Fund for Public Housing also provides Homeownership Awards to former NYCHA residents/new homeowners who complete the annual NYCHA-hosted JP-Morgan Chase Pre-Homebuyer workshop series.