After 8 years of work and waiting, Dusabimana Vestine, single mother of 6, nervously unlocks the door of her new home in central Phoenix last week. Trellis is overjoyed to honor our first homeowner of 2017! After fleeing her native home of Burundi, in Central Africa, in 2008 and with the support of her brother, Patrice, Dusabimana saved $5000 over the course of 2 years. Trellis saw that she qualified to participate in a federal grant program called WISH (Workforce Initiative Subsidy for Homeownership) for first time homebuyers. WISH matched her funds by 3x, giving her an additional $15,000 for her loan down payment. As she stands in awe looking out her kitchen window at the 2 trees and clothesline in her very own backyard, she searches for words to express her profound feelings. She holds her hands up in the air and says “I just want to say Thank You God!” (scroll down for video clip)
Dusabimana and her 5 boys and 1 daughter, have come a long way from a country described as “one of the poorest nations in the world”. They left Burundi 8 years ago due to political conflict and violence. This now seems worlds away. As we walked through the house, she delighted at things that typical Americans wouldn’t even notice: The bathroom has door locks, she gets a “free” garbage bin and she learned how to change her air conditioning filter!
Her brother still helps her with her English as we talk, but her smile communicates more than words ever could. She works at a meat packing facility and is so happy her children will be attending the school directly across the street.
Working with IRC (International Rescue Committee) and their Refugee Program, she was able to use all of Trellis‘ services. She completed a Homebuyer Education Course, she obtained a loan with down payment assistance from our Lending Department and qualified for a Section 32 home listed through our Real Estate Division.
Life expectancy in Burundi is 50 years for men and women, but we hope Dusabimana and her heirs live much longer than that in America. When she unlocked the door to her home last week, she unlocked the door for all her children and their legacy.