Bernard and Veronica: Their Search for Freedom Led Them to the American Dream

Bernard and Veronica: Their Search for Freedom Led Them to the American Dream

After the waiting, saving, hard work, and many periods of starting over… they were able to find the freedom they were searching for and achieve homeownership.

Bernard and Veronica began their journey 2 years ago. Violence in their native land, the Congo, made peaceful life an impossibility and limited their freedom. Wanting more, they migrated to America, and found their way to The Neighbor Project in Aurora, IL. The Neighbor Project is an organization that helps people erase debt and save money toward the goal of home ownership.

Dottie Yeakel, a First Centennial Mortgage loan officer, has worked with The Neighbor Project for over 10 years and helped more than 25 of their families become homeowners. Because of this passion for helping others, she was introduced to Bernard and Veronica. As a certified credit counselor, Dottie assists clients by providing credit education and budgeting guidance so they can achieve their dream of owning a home. Once her families find the right home, Dottie continues to work with them through the homebuying and mortgage process to ensure they are set up with the best mortgage product for them.

Bernard and Veronica’s 18-month journey with The Neighbor Project began with a credit check and homeownership classes, as well as setting them up in a temporary home to rent.

During the first 3 months, Bernard and Veronica completed a full credit assessment, registered for personal finance classes and set up a personal savings account.

For the next 6 months, The Neighbor Project helped with their rent so Bernard and Veronica could put money into their personal savings account. The money they saved would then be used for the down payment on their future home. During these 6 months, they took personal finance classes and honed their credit with Dottie.

For the last 9 months, The Neighbor Project fully covered their rent so they could continue to build their savings. They also completed finance classes, obtained realtor referrals and started looking for a home. Their credit score soared during this time as well, enabling them to get a good loan with a competitive interest rate after they graduated from the program.

To achieve their goal, Bernard and Veronica implemented a plan to live frugally and conservatively, shopping at places such as Goodwill and Salvation Army. These were welcome changes for the family whose main priority in coming to America was to have freedom.

This desire drove their decisions and when assessing various mortgage options with Dottie, Bernard affirmed that keeping the freedom he initially came to America to find was his main criteria in selecting a mortgage type. He told Dottie he was not interested in loan programs with requirements of living in the home for a certain number of years. He stated, “I’m here for freedom. I don’t want a loan program that ties me down.” Now, with the equity they have in their current home, they have the flexibility and freedom they’ve been searching for. And when they’re ready to move again, Bernard says Dottie will be his first call.

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