Meet Alba: An INHP story

Too good to be true.

Could a divorced, single mom of three on a working-class salary – and relatively new to America – really afford to buy a home? Alba dreamed about what it would be like, even in her native Dominican Republic. When INHP told her she could achieve her dream of homeownership, it sounded too good to be true.

Dark times.

Alba followed her husband to America. She had hopes of building a great new life here, with a home for her family, but she struggled to acclimate to a new culture and a place where she didn’t know the language. Then, her marriage fell apart. Her husband became mentally and verbally abusive. Alba felt hopeless

Alba fled the apartment she shared with her husband. She and her children lived in domestic abuse shelters for a few years. Her dream had become the proverbial nightmare. “I was just running from shelter to shelter because, when I was in one shelter, and my ex-husband knew where I was, he would come there. For my safety and the kids’ safety, I had to move.”

After moving into a transitional housing complex for abused women and children in Indianapolis, Alba found hope again.

Working hard to change old habits.

Staff at the housing complex directed Alba to INHP. Her hope for homeownership sprang anew. Alba didn’t have financial discipline or financial education before working with INHP. But INHP gave her the tools she needed to succeed.

“For me, INHP is a great, great, great organization! They helped me a lot,” Alba exclaimed. “I met with one of the INHP representatives every Saturday. They taught me how to manage money, how to save money. They made me write down what I spent to help me build a budget. They helped me build credit.

“I was throwing my money in the trash,” she confessed. “If I had five dollars, and I saw something I liked, I was spending my five dollars and, the next day, I didn’t have anything.”

Alba completed a homebuyer education course, attended classes about budgeting and building credit, and worked hard to save money. All the while, she was always thinking of her two sons, 11-year-old Alvin and 13-year-old Michael, and her toddler daughter, Iris.

“It was hard. I had to work really hard and stop doing many things, including wasting money, but the hard work was for something really, really good: A home for me and my family,” she said.

The joy of the accomplishment.

INHP empowered Alba to apply for down payment assistance and a mortgage. When she finally closed on her first home on Indianapolis’ West side late one evening, the joy of the accomplishment enveloped her. Alba rushed back to her apartment where her mother was waiting with her children.

“I ran to my apartment and my mom was there. I was jumping and yelling, and my kids were jumping and saying, ‘We’ve got a house!’ My mom told me, ‘Just go to sleep for now.’ I said, ‘But, I can’t!’ I told my mom, ‘Mom, come on everybody, let’s go! We’re going to the house!’” she recounted.

Alba loaded her family in the car, snapped a picture of her house keys to commemorate the moment and took her family to see their new home. It was a day that she will never forget.

Alba said, “I didn’t believe I had this house just for me and my kids. It was difficult, but I did it! I felt amazing!’”

When the “wish list” becomes reality.

Alba’s dreams of owning a home always included one “wish list” item: A king-sized bed. To her, the bed would be a gathering place where she could cuddle up with her kids.

“I said, when I get a house, I’m going to buy a big, big bed where we can just lie down, watch television and we’re not going to be kicking each other. I know it’s a little crazy but that was my dream!” she said, with a chuckle.

Today, Alba’s bedroom features a king-sized bed where her family watches TV together.

“Thank you to INHP for all the help they gave me,” she said. “If they didn’t give me all the support they did, I was never going to get this house.”

Placing her hope in good hands.

Alba hopes her homeownership journey will inspire others who face hardships and financial struggles.

“You can do it!” Alba explained. “Look at me. I’m from the Dominican Republic. I’m from another country. I have kids. I moved to this city with no family, no job, no money. And look where I am now.

“Just go to INHP. They will tell you exactly what to do. I think it’s the best thing I ever did!”