Stephanie Reynolds lived in her childhood home for over 30 years and continued living there while she started her own family that soon grew to a son of her own and two more foster children. When her mother became disabled and needed to move back in, it was clear they would need more space. She started to look into getting grant assistance from the City to pay for an addition to the family home. That’s when she discovered Neighborhood Housing Services of Phoenix and learned that with downpayment assistance she could become a homeowner.

“I never would have been able to afford this house on my own with my salary as a teacher’s aid,” she said. “But I love my job and I’m not going to give it up just for a paycheck.” As a foster parent for 7 years Stephanie is no stranger to hard work and perseverance. She is a mother to 3 children; one biological son and an adopted son and daughter that she had originally fostered.

Stephanie reached out in Trellis in July of 2012, but discovered she needed to work on her credit before she could qualify for a downpayment assistance program. “I made the mistake of closing my credit accounts when I didn’t need them anymore,” she said. “Now I know that’s not a good idea.” Betty Gallegos, a Sr. Homeownership Counselor with Trellis, helped her to create a budget and showed her ways to improve her credit. By October 2012, Stephanie was credit-ready and began the application process. “It took a long time,” she said. “The best advice I can give to people is to stick with it even when you’re having trouble finding a house or the paperwork seems overwhelming.”

Stephanie moved into her South Phoenix home in April of 2013 and is enjoying every minute of it. She has already added accent walls in a beautiful blue and began construction on a window seat for her living room. “It’s great to know I have something to leave to my children,” said Stephanie. Right outside her door is a park with green grass and playground equipment for the kids, convenient for birthday parties and family get-togethers.

“We’re still getting used to having our own home,” said Stephanie. “The kids still wave goodbye to the house when we leave and I keep going to my mother’s house to check the mail, but we couldn’t be happier to finally be in our very own home.”