CHESAPEAKE, Va. — During a year where so many lost so much, Donita Edwards gained everything she wanted - a home of her very own.
On December 11, 2020, Edwards became a first-time homeowner just in time for Christmas.
“Our daughter especially would always talk about that house, and I would cry when she would talk about that house because I wasn’t there yet. And so, I had to get it together,” recalled Edwards.
She eventually did “get it together” financially, but she doesn’t take all the credit.
“It was really the village that helped me get here; it was not me by myself. It was those extra pushes.”
The pushes came from people like Romaunda Scott Mitnaul, who runs the Family Self-Sufficiency Program at the Chesapeake Redevelopment and Housing Authority.
The program arms people with knowledge to take on better financial habits through bi-monthly classes and encourages them when times get tough.
“People want to be self-sufficient. People want jobs; people want training so that they won’t have to rely on government subsidies,” explained Scott Mitnaul.
Edwards recently graduated from the program after five years of hard work and is now reaping the benefits.
“I paid off that car, got that credit straight, purchased a home and got a lender,” said Edwards.
The Chesapeake Redevelopment and Housing Authority Family Self-Sufficiency Program is for public housing and housing choice voucher recipients. They offer classes for credit repair, health and wellness, jobs skills training and more.
“It’s important because it gives them a hand up, along with helping them while they continue to go through the resources,” said Scott Mitnaul.
Chesapeake residents who qualify can call Resident Services at 757-233-6900 and ask for enrollment into the Family Self-Sufficiency Program.
People who live outside of Chesapeake can check with their local housing authority for similar assistance.
Although the five-year journey to complete the different programs wasn’t always easy, Edwards encourages others to take advantage of their free resources.
“You’ve got to find the greatness inside of you to help you keep going because there are going to be times when you don’t want to go and times that you are going to feel like you’re punching that brick wall, but you have to motivate yourself.”