At the age of 25 teacher and mentor Juan Chavez didn’t even have homeownership on his radar. Juan grew up in South Phoenix with very few successful role models and a penchant for getting into trouble.

As he got older and had a few close calls with the law he rediscovered his faith. It was then that he found his true calling, working with young people from his hometown to help them reach their full potential. Juan became a teacher at his old high school, Cesar Chavez High, and entered an after school mentoring program where he helped the students find work, prepare for college and become leaders in their community.

When a friend told him about the homeownership program at Neighborhood Housing Services of Phoenix (Trellis) he was excited but skeptical. “I was only 25 and living on a teacher’s salary,” said Juan. “I didn’t think I would be able to buy my own home.” He decided to give it a try and was assigned to Homeownership Counselor Susan Cervantez. In September 2012 Juan attended his first counseling session. During this session Susan reviewed his credit and discovered that in order to buy a home Juan would first need to work on his credit. “I had a medical bill from a football injury that needed to be paid,” said Juan. “On top of that I didn’t even have a credit card, so I had to start from scratch to build my credit.” Over the next few months Juan got a credit card and, with the advice of his counselor, started making small purchases which he paid off every month. By December his credit had improved and he was ready to begin the home buying process.

First he attended Trellis’s Homebuyer Education Class (HBE). “The HBE class was very informative,” said Juan. “The instructor was really knowledgeable and answered every question the
students had.”

Next it was time to start looking for a house that he could call a home. Juan fell in love with the first house he looked at. “It had everything I wanted,” said Juan. “A big living room for entertaining, a big backyard to make my own; it was perfect.” Juan moved in to his house in March 2013 and immediately got to work making it his home.

The home buying process wasn’t only educational for Juan; throughout the process he shared his
experience with his students. “I wanted to show them how buying a home works,” said Juan. “I wanted
to show them that a kid that had grown up just like them could buy a home. It felt great to be a role
model.”

Since March Juan has worked hard to make his home everything he dreamed. He has painted, installed a
fire-pit and even expanded the back patio. “I love opening up my home for people to come over,” said
Juan. “I’m proud to say this is my house, I’m a homeowner.”