• Felecia Gilmore-Long

Meet Christy | cdc monthly - March 2018

"You must be diligent, persistent and keep your eye on the goal of homeownership. Believe me it will be worth it!"


My name is Christy Chraibi. I am the proud single mother of three children: two older girls and one boy.

It seems like every since I became a parent, I struggled to make ends meet; each day, each month, each paycheck. I always had to figure out which of my bills could wait to be paid and which ones had to be paid immediately. I am sure most single moms (and dads) can relate to this....

Fortunately, the two girls are grown and married, but I still have my boy at home with me. Even with just the two of us, I still struggled to pay bills on time. I especially struggled to pay my rent and figuring out how to pay my electric bill before my lights were turned off.

Not only did I have to worry about paying my rent each month, but the challenge seemed to grow every year. Each new lease renewal came with at least a $40 rent increase. For a single mom like me, that was difficult to deal with--especially when my pay did not necessarily increase by the same amount each year, if it increased at all.

Before each renewal, I would beg my landlord to please not keep increasing my rent because I was already having a hard time making ends meet.

One day I was at a friends birthday party and overheard a single dad talking about how his rent had also kept increasing each year. But, he had also learned that he could get down payment assistance help from the County to purchase a home, and no longer have to worry about higher and higher monthly rents.

Of course, this made my ears perk up.

I asked him how to go about getting into the program. He said, "You have to go to an orientation first and then you will learn the steps you will need to to take from there." Then he encouraged me to go see the team at CDC of Tampa.

The next month, I attended CDC of Tampa's Homeownership Center Orientation. I remember being told that there was a book I could purchase to study how to go about the home buying process. Other than that, there was a lot of information that basically went over my head at first.

However, I was very persistent on learning how to follow the steps so that I could be on the way to owning a home. I was very excited to learn that I would have a set mortgage payment each month that would not go up $40 or $50 dollars each year.

I did not realize at first how much work it was going to be. Nonetheless, I was determined.

First, we talked about my credit. My credit was not great by any means. To be honest, I didn't even know what my credit score was before we talked about it. I was informed that in order to even start the process, I would have had a credit score of a minimum, 640 or above. CDC of Tampa showed me how to work on getting my credit score higher in order to qualify for the down payment assistance program.

Second, we talked about how much was I in debt. Well, that was not so good either. But CDC of Tampa showed me how to pay off my debts--even if I had to do it little by little.

I have to admit, the whole process was not a quick fix at all.

But the staff at CDC of Tampa--particularly the Homeownership Center's Debbi Jarrie--was instrumental in helping me get my

my home.

It was a lot of hard work, but if it were not for CDC of Tampa, this single mom would not have been able to purchase her home. Of course, my realtor was also key to helping me find a home that I could afford in a location I desired.

The bottom line is this: If you are financially challenged and tired of spending your money on rent with nothing to show for it, then go see the helpful people at CDC of Tampa today.

They will walk you step-by-step on how to achieve the goal of homeownership. You can take it from this single mom who had no help from anyone else.

You must be diligent and persistent and keep your eye on your goal of getting your own home. Believe me it will be worth it!

Yours truly,

Christy C.

Christy: everyone at CDC of Tampa is proud of the future you're building for yourself and your family. We hope you enjoy many years of happiness in your new home! Always know we're here to continue to support you every step of the way in your homeownership journey. Thank you for staying determined; you inspire us to keep creating economic opportunities like yours everyday.


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