home is where my story starts contest entries

​​​​​​Below are some of the Home Is Where My Story Startssm Contest entries received from CHFA’s homeownership customers. We hope you enjoy reading them as much as we have. ​
​​​​​Contest Documents​​


My Home
Submitted by Rosem​ary from Denver

My name is Rosemary and I purchased my first home in August of 2013 through CHFA first time homebuyers program. I am 55 years old and this is the first time that I really feel like I have something of my own. I have lived in apartments or rental homes my entire adult life. I was always a single mother and finding somewhere that was affordable and comfortable for my daughter and myself could definitely be trying at times. I have lived and worked in Montbello for 9 years so I naturally though​t that would be the place for me to find my new home. With my daughter now on her own with her child, it was a little easier for me to find something that suited just me. I found a beautifully remodeled two bedroom home that is perfect. My daughter and granddaughter have their own room so that they can come and stay with me whenever they like.

I have enjoyed so much, working in my yard and really making this true home for the rest of my life. I now have a dog that is not only my protector but a part of my family. She is able to run around a yard instead of being stuck in an apartment. I have always wanted to own something of my own but was afraid that it wouldn’t work for me. Taking the class at CHFA really opened my eyes as to how easy, scary, exciting, and altogether great it could be. I went through a few weeks while in the process of looking and getting my loan approved, where it was definitely stressful. I cannot tell you how much it was worth that little bit of stress. I now have good things to come home to. I have dreams of the little changes that I can make to my home and know that it is REALLY mine to do with what I want.

I will be able to retire knowing that I can leave something to my daughter and granddaughter. I know that they will be safe and always have a place that they can come if they need. I have something all mine that I can change or keep the way that I want it to be. I have projects to complete if I want. I have something to occupy my time when I am not working. I have something that no one can take from me. Thank you. ​


My Home
Submitted by Tom and Lindsay from Lakewood

In September of 2012, my husband and I decided we wanted to move our soon to be growing family into a home we could call our own. We had a one year old and wanted to give him the comfort and security of a place to grow up in. We first made contact with our mortgage agent to see what we needed to do and if we could qualify. We were on track to purchase a home within six months.

Over the next few months, we did everything he said, in regards to financials. My mom wanted nothing more than to see us purchase our first home so she said she would help us with the down payment. Sadly, she was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) in January of 2013. We had to use all of our savings to support us so I could travel home and take care of her. I had to take unpaid leave at work so this meant we were unable to purchase a home in 2013; it also meant that we would be making purchases on credit cards just to put food on the table.

Despite all our setbacks as a family, I would never change the time I got to spend with her. She was the first to know that I was pregnant with our second child. She passed away in September of 2013 and I came back to Colorado full time and went back to work. We did everything we could to quickly pay off our debt, raise our credit scores and get money back into our savings account.

We got back on track quickly and in December started looking at houses to purchase. We were in a rush because I was due at the end of February! It took a few months because the market changed so much in the time we had been looking but we were able to close on a great house in March. We closed one week after we brought our sweet baby boy home from the hospital.

Homeownership has given us the safety and security of a place we can call our own and watch our children grown up. While I lay in bed every morning, I am woken up by the sounds of our toddler’s feet pitter pattering across the floor. We can make a measurement chart on the kid's bedroom walls and to see how much they have grown over the years. It means that we get to look at the red stain we have on our carpet and remember that is when Thomas decided to paint us a picture on his own. The boys can break windows with a baseball, our water heater breaks, and a pipe explodes but we are responsible because we are the owner! We can make a house our home with whatever projects we want to work on. We get to learn as a family how things work or don’t work! My husband would say that homeownership means that he now has a very long “honey do” list.

Our house is next to a great elementary school and we will be able to walk across the street everyday to drop the kids off and pick them up. I wanted nothing more than that great feeling you get when you drive up a street and walk around a safe neighborhood. Now, every time I drive up our new street, I am overwhelmed by a feeling of accomplishment and happiness. I see my mom watching down on us and I am thankful for everything we have been given. Thankful for all our blessings we have had over the past few years and thankful for the ability to provide for my family as my parents were able to provide for me. A place we can be long term and start our new family off with traditions and things we can all look forward to for many years to come. In short, homeownership has meant these two words: family and security.

We were able to overcome so much, and it took a year and a half, but as a family we made it through and still got to accomplish our dream.

My Home
Submitted by April from Aurora

When I became an adult I always dreamed of owning my own home. Being the youngest of seven and always coddled, I did not see that happening. I never had enough funds saved or a reliable stable income. So it’s great being where I am today because it has taken me a while to gain the independence I have now. It’s been hard being a single mom raising two boys on my own, barely making ends meet.

Life has been hard at times but God works in mysterious ways. I was involved in a very bad car accident in 2010 and I almost lost my life. By the grace of God I survived the terrible tragedy and it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. In fact, I may not have been a new home owner today if it wasn’t for the accident. The accident ended up bringing some great financial benefits for my family. At the time I didn't see things that way because of all the undue stress I had suffered. I had to recover from memory loss, a broken neck, broken pelvis, and three broken ribs. Not to mention, the mental and physical anguish I had to endure. So trying to recover and get my life back on track seemed like a very slow process. I was stuck with a lot of unpaid medical bills and behind on my regular bills.

Be that as it may, my job did a wonderful thing and took up a collection for me and my family. It helped out a lot, I was very grateful for that but it wasn’t enough to stop the bill collectors from calling. It was rough for a while, I felt like my world had been turned upside down and I didn’t know how to get it back on track. My main focus should have been that I was alive, instead I could only reflect on my health and how I was going to walk again.

After being released from the hospital I became extremely depressed but I was ready to fight. Fight for justice. Well justice was served and the outcome allowed me to become a new homeowner. My health was improving; I had a little money in the bank so I began to put my life back together piece by piece. In late 2013 my dream became a reality sooner than I had imagined and it was a magnificent feeling I was at a fabulous place in my life.

My situation was changing for the better and I was reaching a mile stone in my life. Just like I had hoped, it was awesome and a bit mind boggling prior to closing but still a happy time. It took a lot of extra effort and discipline preparing to purchase a home. Finding the right place the right realtor was a challenge. So many times I felt like giving up, but I pulled it together, kept my head straight and found the right people who helped me get into the house I’m in today. It’s nothing short of a miracle that I didn’t give up. It was an everlasting journey but boy, was it well worth it. Sitting at the closing table was exciting and scary all at the same time. I felt like I was signing my life away but when they gave me those keys on that day; I was so overjoyed and proud of myself for such a great accomplishment.

Now that I’m in my home, it’s been great! It’s got a lot of perks, some good and some bad but more compelling then renting. I’m still glad I decided to purchase and thankful God made it all possible. I can honestly say that homeownership has brought an incredible energy my way; it has made me grow up in more ways than one. I am much more responsible with my funds and how they are spent than I was in the past. I keep track of what I'm spending each month by saving all my receipts. By doing this I am able to really see where my money is going and where I can cut back on unnecessary spending. It works for me, I log my totals in a spread sheet I created and I’m able to see where I can improve, so far this method has been working. I hope it’s enough to keep me successful and in my place for a long time. I want to stay ahead of the game and plan ahead for any bumps along the way that would change my comfort zone. It’s important for me to be a successful homeowner because for a long time I didn’t think I was capable of owning a home.

Now that the home is mine, I have great plans for this property. For instance, I think I would like to do some decorating around the house. Or maybe consider landscaping the petite back area and purchasing a grill to have a small family gathering to show off my beautiful new home. Even do some updating in the near future in hopes to improve the look of the home and possibly increase the property value. I’ve already done some updating since my closing date. I just love the new look so far. It’s very nice being in charge of making decisions without having to get permission from a landlord. Those days are behind me now, watch out future here I come. Maybe next time around I will be in a better financial situation and hopefully be married and living in my dream home with my future husband.

There's No Place Like Home
Submitted by Michelle from Colorado Springs

There's no place like home! There's no place like home! There's no place like home! Yes, I know it sounds a little corny, but when I walk through the doors of my home, that's exactly how I feel.

After eight hours of office work; countless hours of running the kids to and from school, to and from activities; running the dog to and from the park; running the baby to and from the sitters; home is such a blessed destination. It is the place I run to, not from. Home is the place were "to and from" stops and the world slows down enough so that I can hear the kids laugh, watch the kids grow, listen to their complaints and nurture their dreams.

We moved-in late in the fall with a collection of mismatched furniture and a sort of awe at the fact that we had “done it!” We had actually purchased a house! My first thought was, “no more renting for me!” I could paint the walls green and the ceiling purple if I wanted to (but I did not want to). My tween daughter and 8 year old son claimed rooms like prospectors staking out a piece of land to mine for gold. My husband called dibs on the basement and a new (huge) flat screen TV unexpectedly made its way in the back door one afternoon soon after.

By Christmas that year curtains were up, there were pictures on the walls and the kid’s rooms were just the way they wanted them. She with posters of teen idols and movies stars alongside her “Littlest Pet Shop Collection”. His adorned in the latest Transformers couture with Hot Wheels in every corner, on every shelf. My husband and I kept waiting to see who was going to shovel the driveway and sidewalks when we got our first snowfall but quickly figured out that we were “homeowners” and that comes with the territory.

That first spring and summer came and went in a flurry of activity while we all settled into a routine. And while we so wanted the outside of this house to look as nice as the inside, we did not have the expertise or the finances to tackle the landscaping.

By the time fall came upon us again (a whole year had passed so fast!), the house was looking pretty good. However, we had to put aside any and all creative ideas for the rest of the house while we prepared for a new addition to our family. We had to focus on decorating the nursery and “child proofing” the house for our new baby.

It was winter when the baby arrived. His nursery was blue and warm. Mickey Mouse was all over the crib sheets, dancing with Minnie, Goofy and other Disney characters on the walls, lamp shade and crib mobile. We were scouring Craigslist on a daily basis looking for bassinettes, cribs, “pack ‘n plays”, carriages and all the other “accessories” babies require now a day. Our first year had come and gone and we were definitely growing into this house, these four walls of ours.

Before we knew it spring had arrived and this time my husband and I were ready. We decided to tackle the back yard on our own. We had no idea what we were doing but, thank God for good neighbors and Google, we were able to move forward with our plans. Hours of hard labor turned into days of hauling wheel barrels and bags of top soil, rocks, mulch and sod. The front yard was easier since we decided on a low water consumption option. Still it was slow going and a huge learning experience. I thought it would never end! Oh the joys of home ownership!

And finally, just in time for Father’s Day and the 4th of July, the back yard is looking spectacular! The grill is ready, the fire pit is lit. The grass is warm and inviting and ever so green and the afternoon is cool and breezy.

Mom is here and so is my brother, his wife and baby and some good friends, ready for a good old fashion backyard BBQ. This house of ours has turned into “family central”. Hubby is at the grill; kids are running from the house to the yard and back again. Music fills the air and mixes in with the sounds of conversations, laughter, jokes. Babies are crying, mothers are cooing. The house is spilling out into the yard and finally this house, this house we bought two years ago, this house with barely two years of memories yet many more memories to come. Finally this house is now a HOME.

So when I go to bed tonight, exhausted and spent; content in the knowledge that my children are safe in their rooms with a solid roof over their heads and warm walls to embrace them while they sleep dreaming dreams of future adventures in this HOME. When I put my head on my pillow, on my bed, in my room, in my HOME, I know the last thought that will cross my mind as it idles toward a deep and restful sleep, will be:

“There's no place like home! There's no place like home! There's no place like home!”

My Home
Submitted by Rachel and Jeremiah from Fort Collins

Hi there! My name is Rachel and my husband, Jeremiah, and I are excited to tell our first time homebuyers story! I work almost full time at a mental health facility while pursuing my master's degree in clinical counseling and Jeremiah works at a sign shop and is a very talented graphic designer. We have been happily married for almost five years and have been together for over a decade. We love each other immensely and couldn’t have found better life partners than we have in each other.

Jeremiah and I bought our first (and only) home in May of 2011 after scouring the city we both grew up in for a house that fit our needs and wants, was a fair price that we could afford, and that was in a nice location. As luck would have it we finally found one, and as soon as we left the showing we knew that it was the one for us and put an offer in for it that night. We were overjoyed when we were officially made home-owners because it finally felt real and meant so much more to us. It meant that we finally owned not only the house that we would be in for most of our lives, but it also meant we had our own property and the privacy and comfort we'd been waiting for. At last we had achieved a huge lifetime goal of both of ours! This was a monumental experience in our lives that signified the next phase in not only our relationship but also our lives, symbolizing our complete independence, giving us a great sense of pride and accomplishment as well as an appreciation for the newfound responsibility that we wanted and were ready for.

Buying our own home has also impacted the way we think about the meaning of the words autonomy, community, and home. Although there have been bumps in the road (we had to replace the roof and will soon be replacing the refrigerator and air conditioner, are working on installing additional insulation in the attic, and plan to continue upgrading our yards), we are so happy to have a place to call our own and that we can take care of. Knowing that all of the money, hard work, time, and energy that we continue to put into our home will pay off because we will have the comfort of knowing how well cared for it is and that it will ultimately lead to our home's longevity and stability over time. We have also gained a newfound sense of community through homeownership, something we had never really experienced while living in apartments with sordid neighbors that we never got to know - aside from sharing thin walls and overcrowded parking lots. Similarly, having a place to call our own has been extremely invigorating and inspiring. To be able to do whatever we want with our property and home has been liberating and exciting. I am eager to decorate the house to more closely reflect our style and taste, however, have been limited in my ability to do so because we have very limited expendable income and because I am extremely busy in my final year of graduate school. When I have more free time again and we are able to save enough money, we hope to update the house with new paint, furniture, and decorations that will reflect our personalities and interests more, making it feel even more like our own unique home. In the meantime, we are spending the little time and money we do have on adding garden beds and planting our own vegetables and fruits, working towards our goal of becoming as self-sufficient as we can. Organic gardening and horticulture are a passion of Jeremiah's and he can't wait to introduce a compost bin and new foliage and landscaping to our front and back yards. Winning a free mortgage payment will be life-changing and instrumental in our ability to accomplish these aspirations of ours and we will be forever grateful for the opportunity to do so!

Homeownership has definitely changed our lives for the better, in many ways. It has facilitated our ability to entertain loved ones, and more specifically has fostered our ability to connect and bond with family members. This is because by having so much more space than we ever did in apartments, we are now able to host more barbecues and football gatherings (Jeremiah is a football fanatic), and can offer our spare room to loved ones in need of a place to stay. Homeownership has therefore helped in the creation of many new and wonderful memories for us, as well as nurtured our relationship and overall wellbeing. Thank you so much for considering us for the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority anniversary My Home Contest!

Submitted by Amanda from Grand Junction

Dear CHFA,

I’m a recovered drug addict / alcoholic. My kids and I ended up homeless in G.J. in 2004. I hit rock bottom, We wandered around G.J. for a while until Fellowship Church found me out in the park, they would feed us and then take us to church, I finally saw the light and that I needed God in my life, after some time I was offered a job at the church cleaning, I took it. A friend of mine told me about Habitat and what an awesome program it was, after I worked at the church for a year I applied, the Kids and I were accepted. WOOHOO! After ALOT of blood sweat and tears we finally had a place to call home, the kids were thrilled! They spent most of their lives moving around a lot , It has brought so much stability to me and my family, we have taken so much pride in our home, we love our neighbors and are always there to help one another, I’m so grateful for our home, we have been there for 6 yrs (2008) and my life has truly changed, I believe that with God and our new home, that is what has helped me remain sober, I have a since of ownership, accomplishment, integrity, and most of all JOY, I have been clean and sober for 10 yrs!!!! Thank you so much for this opportunity to help Me and My family be successful!

Always Grateful,
Amanda and Family

My Home
Submitted by Mark and Melissa from Brighton

When asked how homeownership has shaped the life of the Dickman family in Brighton Colorado, we would have to say it brightened our lives. As renters we moved often for multiple reasons, so when we found a house that would fit all of us comfortably and we could afford, we were excited, not knowing how great it would become. We bought this house in October of 2009. There are five of us in this family and finding a place to call home and know that the landlord wasn’t going to decide to sell or raise the rent any time soon was enough for us.

There are so many bright aspects to owning our house, one of them is that Our oldest daughter had been sick for many years, but our home helped her heath stabilize and lower her stress because we didn’t have to move anymore or change schools, find the library, the park and the doctor at each new location any longer, we were home.

As a family, we like to spend time together. After buying our house, we spent many hours together adjusting the house to how we wanted it. We took out carpets, painted wall, added cabinets, and changed some stuff too. The kids were so excited to paint their rooms whatever colors they wanted finally. And when the work is done, we play together too.

Everyone has been more successful in school since we have purchased our home. Continuations and graduations have been celebrated here. Everyone has the place they do homework and their favorite place to relax because we find peace in our home even when we are reading.

We find peace in the garden, the flowers and the places to play or relax. We garden as a family, but we also harvest, can and cook what comes from are piece of dirt. We have a comfortable place, one where friends come together to hang out, eat and enjoy the company or just rest by the garden. When we have had a rough day working or with school work we can come home to our place of rest. It is ours. We grow here, we live here, and we love it here.

My Home
Submitted by Margaret from Cañon City

This is not my first “owned home”, but – I think – that I want it to be my last! I’ve been so fortunate over the last many years to have found homes to purchase and live in that felt like moving into a huge bundle of “hugs”. I always felt, with each home purchased, that it would be the last one. Now, in my current “little old grandma” home, I’m “positive” that this is it! I have the “hugs” as well as the sometimes crankiness of old age (home and body) along with the “it will be what it is” attitude that comes with the contentment of a life successfully lived. My home gives me challenges that I need to keep busy – fixing up and improving, then the feeling that what I’ve accomplished is “just right”.

The challenge and frustration of getting through all the paperwork and testing in order to obtain the CHFA financing was just a small “blip” compared to the immense satisfaction and comfort that I now enjoy while beginning my newly minted retirement in my own “hug” nest.

Thank you all – CHFA folks – for this opportunity. My future looks bright and secure in this old home thanks to the CHFA program. Life is good!

Our Santurary
Submitted by Liz and Alcides from Alamosa

As I arrive home, I feel like I’ve arrived to my sanctuary. My husband, Alcides, always greets me with a hug and a kiss. Our two dogs (Chaski & Lulu) greet me with their tails flapping back and forth. I am always amazed by the blessings that have been bestowed upon me.

Twenty years ago, my best friend and I were taking a chemistry class at Adams State College. It was a difficult class, and Maria would invite me to her house to study. I found out that an elderly couple had fostered her. Grandma Lois and Grandpa Glen was a loving elderly couple and would encourage me to stay the night at their place. They were always concerned that I would go home so late after studying. Grandpa Glen would say, “You must call your mother and let her know that you will stay with us.” In one of the rooms where I stayed, there was a picture of Grandpa Glen and Granma Lois of their wedding day. I always wondered and hoped that I would have a beautiful marriage based on love & respect as this elderly couple had of each other.

I doubted that thought for so long, because I never had a boyfriend. I was 26 years old and the only thing on my mind was graduating from college and helping my mother by raising my younger siblings. Dad was oftentimes gone. I helped raise my siblings and assisted with any way I could. I loved them, and I wished for them to succeed. They all eventually graduated with a bachelor’s degree, except for one. His name is Sylvester, and he is special needs. He lived out of town in a group home, and the family would visit him as often as possible. He became extremely ill 14 years ago and came to live back home. My mother was thrilled to have him back home after living away for so long. She was an amazing mother who would go visit him once a week during all the years that he lived in group homes. My mother was a nurse’s aide. She educated herself with my brother’s condition, and she needed my help again. Mom would work Fridays-Sundays for 16 hours each day. On those days, I would stay home and take care of him. From Monday through Thursday, I would work full time as a teacher at Sierra Grande High School. It left no time for any social life, much less a chance at finding love. Despite that, it was a choice that I was happy to take, even though it was not easy. I can look back and feel satisfied with my decision.

Then a miracle occurred. My siblings and I had always lived far away from grandparents, aunts, and cousins. We were all we had in Colorado, and the new technology that was arising gave us the opportunity to connect with our extended family. Messenger was becoming popular and I started to connect with cousins and other family members. I received a message from a distant cousin. This message was interesting because the message was not only in Spanish, but the Spanish being used was in a specific tense. I knew that this person was from another country and could not possible be my cousin. I asked him who he was trying to reach and he said “I am your cousin, Arequipeña.” I mentioned to him that he had made a mistake, that I was a teacher from Colorado. He didn’t believe me because his cousin (whom he wanted to reach and had the exact name and e-mail as myself-minus a letter) was a jokester. Once he called his cousin and found out about the mistake, he apologized. He’d mentioned that he was from Peru and that he grew up on the shores of Lake Titicaca. I was intrigued, because I was featuring the Incan Empire. Three months prior to this contact, I had a wall outside my classroom that featured the Peruvian flag, a tapestry that was handmade of the harvest near the Andes Mountains, and a poster of Machu Picchu. I mentioned this to him and a friendship began.

He lived at home also, and had started a cyber cafe business with his cousins and that is why he had so much time to talk to me. During the first three months we shared knowledge of our cultures. Then we shared information about our families and found many things in common. His parents were teachers and I came from a family of teachers as well. Nine months later we met and fell in love. He proposed in Machu Picchu. We married in Colorado in 2006. I told him that I had one more year to dedicate to my mother and my ill brother, and he agreed to live with them. At the time, my grandmother also lived with us. So, my husband and I lived in a small room in a mobile home with my family. He had mentioned that he would love to get a place of our own, and that it didn’t matter if it was small.

News came to me that Grandpa Glen was ill and in a nursing home. I went to visit him with my friend Maria, and on one occasion I found out that he was selling his house. He’d had many offers, but he chose ours. The beautiful house, where I had once wished to have a marriage as beautiful as the Beans was now ours. We promised to respect and love as much as they had.

Now I see a loving, hard-working husband who studies in the same library that Grandpa Glen has left us. My love will soon be a teacher as well, since he graduates in May. As I look around this beautiful sanctuary I call home, I have to pinch myself and realize that this is not only my dream, but also my reality. We are very blessed indeed!

What Homeownership Means To Me
Submitted by Galentino from Colorado Springs


My name is Dad. Well, to my family it is. I’m not sure that I’ve been called by my actual name for quite a while. Not at home at least. I’ve been a father for 16 years now, and have 3 kiddos, and a beautiful wife.

17 years ago, I was only 20 years old and trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. Only a year later, I knew exactly what I wanted to be, a father. This was immediately after the point that my wife and I found out we were having our first child. I knew it instantly, I totally wanted to be the best father possible.

This was going to be a challenge for sure. I hadn’t grown up with a father, but had a couple of solidly positive influences in my life that I’d later find, would be the people that would guide a lot of what sort of father I’d be. Another challenge I immediately saw, was that I didn’t ever grow up in a home. Well, not one that we owned. My life up until we bought our first home just two years ago, had always been rentals. This reaches all the way back from my birth. If my mother and I weren’t staying with family, then it was always about working for the rent.

Until I met the woman that would become my wife, home ownership had never even crossed my mind. Getting to know their family, pointed out something strange to me. I had never worked on a yard, or on home improvement projects. It totally stumped me, and after finding out that I’d be a father, this immediately became a high priority.

Homeownership, I certainly didn’t pick the easiest path to getting that goal taken care of. Years of IT outsourcing, and layoffs, brought us to the point that we’d been in a rental of some kind for well over a decade. Once my education, experience, and people skills hit their prime, is when I came across a solid position. The job would soon become my career, and the focus immediately turned towards potentially owning our own home.

Credit challenges due to the layoffs and outsourcing really seemed to scare away more than a couple seasoned realtors and mortgage opportunities. With some patience and hard work, we came across someone who was more than happy to discuss our options. She immediately provided the idea of investing in ourselves and certainly of starting our mortgage process with learning about CHFA.

After visiting the site, and learning about the process from the loan officer that recommended it, we knew that we’d finally found a way to bring things together. Not only would we be able to get the loan we’d need, but because of CHAFA, we’d be able to pull it off without totally driving our finances to the brink. It was amazing that because of this program, something that would have otherwise been nearly unobtainable for years longer, was within our grasp.

Finding the home we knew would be our first, and signing the paperwork, drove me to a very emotional moment. My family, especially my mother who knew the significance of this accomplishment, were beyond proud. For the first time in my life, I had realized that a home, is something I hadn’t ever quite had the feeling of being a part of. My wife, my children, and where ever we were, was certainly a place of love. However, when it’s your own home, there’s a sense of pride, accomplishment, and peace that only comes from laying your head where your investment lies.

Today, our home if the focal point for the majority of our extended family as well. We host more than half of any significant event because of square footage, layout, yard, parking, so many reasons. I’m sure being a phenomenal cook has a bit to do with it as well.

Being a home owner and having that sense of achievement actually brought more with it than I could have imagined. Once you’ve been to the top of the mountain, you realize it’s only a small part of the rest of the world. Owning a home, I’ve realized that same feeling, as now I’m part of a community of home owners, and the world is much bigger than we would have thought originally. However, the view from here only shows me that anything is within grasp.

The House of T
Submitted by Jack and Stacey from Palmer Lake

Welcome to the House of T! My husband Jack and I bought our first house two years ago and we have loved every minute of living in this house. To us, this house is our sanctuary, our safe place where we can relax and just be. We both wait anxiously for the end of our work day to get back to our home and our peaceful property. We have two cats that also wait anxiously because they know when we come home, we will all go outside. Jack and I both work full time and I also go to school part time, so our home is our comfort zone. I have a peaceful area to study where I can focus on my studies, where I did not have that before we purchased this home. Our modest home sits on almost an acre of wooded land in Palmer Lake and so we have had the fun chore of working in the yard, which we both love doing. It makes us feel productive by working hard on our property and as we sit in the evening outside with our dinner, we feel like we have accomplished a task and we are at peace. We have learned a great deal about working with native Colorado soil, how to care for our tall Pine trees, and many other new lessons have been learned. Jack has learned how to care for our dirt driveway and have put in many hours working to improve it. There is still a lot of work to be done, but we look forward to getting out there and working because we know it is our property. We are proud of our house, and our land which we both have happily worked making improvements and making it into our home.

Owning a home has changed our life in many ways. We can now invite family and friends over and it is so very comforting to have a place to gather them together. In the past when Jack and I rented houses, we did not have a home for entertaining so we would always go to friends houses. But, now our house is the gathering place for many of our friends and traditions have begun and have been set in place, which is what we desired. Jack and I have always wanted a home to gather our friends and family and make them feel at home, in our home. We have accomplished that! We have had holiday dinners and celebrations, birthday parties for Jack the last two years, cook-outs in the warm weather, and many hot chocolates by the fire place. We have really enjoyed entertaining our friends and family and still giggle as we wave good-bye to them as they leave our driveway. We have met wonderful neighbors who we trust and compare notes on yard work, as well as sharing dinners together, and inviting each other to social gatherings. We love living in Palmer Lake and having the trails so close to us for hiking, biking, and running. Living here in a healthy environment has not just been physically healthy, but mentally healthy as well. I have volunteered with the town of Palmer Lake and the Colorado Mountain Club building a trail up at the Palmer Lake Reservoir and was able to meet other locals in my community. Jack and I both have enjoyed getting to know the local owners of the restaurants and shops and love the feel of our small community. We feel like our life is in balance and that is all due to buying our house and moving into this community.

My Home
Submitted by Jacqueline and John from Denver

Before seeing this contest through chfa, we have thought many times over the almost 2 years that we became “home owners” of how lucky we are to be here and how we didn’t think we ever could be so fortunate to have our own home. On both sides of our families, people have been homeowners for years. We had always felt a sense of inferiority when this topic was discussed. At that time, we had been married only a few years and renting seemed like our only option. We were paying school loans, car payments, rent, and doctor bills. Buying a home seemed out of the question. One day in winter 2012, my husband came home with this hopeful look in his eye as he was describing a colleague that had started their first home buying process. He explained that he thought we could do it too. I was not so sure but his excitement and confidence was inspiring so I went along. We began to have discussions on the why’s of wanting to be homeowners. Things we discussed involved true adults (if homeowners), our families would respect us more, the type of home we could afford, and investment into our future. But the most important factor was our 2-year-old son. Logan was born 9 weeks early and weighed less than 2 pounds. He was in the hospital for many months. When he came finally home (at a weight of 4.5 pounds), he was on oxygen for 6 months. He needed occupational and speech therapy for three years. Thankfully, we had amazing, dedicated medical and community assistance. One pressing hardship throughout all of his hospital stay and therapy afterwards was that we were renters. We did not have that foundation and true sense of home during his first years of life. We made a commitment to each other that we wanted to have a home that we could continue to grow and cherish as a family.

After that winter day in 2012, we went to a home buying workshop. It was a full day of learning the ins and outs of the home-buying experience. It was overwhelming at times when looking at the process but it helped us in the realization that we could do this. There was an amazing person presenting that was a lender. She explained things in such a way that felt encouraging and furthered our confidence. We spoke with her after the training and she suggested we come in and meet with her to get prequalified. That began the paperwork frenzy for the next few months!

Our meeting with the lender was a day I think we will always remember. We learned that we were good candidates to buy a home. We were ecstatic! She was so great at explaining the details step by step. After that meeting, we were on our way!

After we found a real estate agent things began to feel very real. Our lives became paperwork, scheduling showings, and the roller-coaster emotions of home buying. Some days it felt like things were not going to work out. We would get excited about a house and then see it in person and learn it was not the right fit for us. We brought our son to every showing because it was very important to us that he be part of the process. His excitement waned within the first month. J With all the showings and disappointments came clarity. We learned we could not afford the part of Denver we originally wanted to be in. We learned we really wanted space, good storage, and a fenced in yard. We were ok with some things we initially thought were deal breakers. After the first month, we did find a house we loved and put in an offer. When it fell through we were devastated. We took a week off to soul-search if we really wanted to continue. At that point, the weather was getting nice and since we were in a townhouse, it reminded us on how much our son needed a back yard. So the search was back on!

Even after expanding our criteria, we still saw a bunch of houses that did not fit our needs. However, one weekend in May 2012 we were shown two homes within a block of each other. We liked them both! The one we liked a little better was more money. Thankfully, we had learned a lot in the few months’ journey and we were ok with the phrase “you get what you pay for.” We went with the offer on the more expensive place. As we were putting in the offer (which by the way is so different from the hundreds of home buying television shows we watched J ) there was almost a sense of peace. We knew this was our home! After some negotiation, our offer was accepted! We celebrated for about a day and then the real “hard” work began; appraisals, inspections, loans, etc.

We closed on our home on June 6, 2012. It was a beautiful sunny day! It has been such a dream. Though it does bring its own challenges, we have figured out how to make things work. Some things we cannot update or fix to the way we like it yet. However, we have lots of space, good storage and a fenced yard for our son. He loves to play outside, go on bike rides and explore the neighborhood.

I am so proud of my husband who was the one that came home that winter day in 2012 and told me we could own a home. Without his confidence, love and partnership this would not have happened. There is a quote by Sarah Ban Breathnach that says, “Be grateful for the home you have, knowing that at this moment, all you have is all you need.” That is how we feel to be home.

Jackie and John

Here Is Our Story:
Submitted by Justin and Tamara from Pueblo

In 2006 at the ages of 19 and 21, Justin and I were young, in love, and determined to move in with each other. With a small savings and very little credit, we never thought of buying our own home or that we would even qualify for that matter. After looking at multiple rental properties and being disappointed time and time again, we decided not to give up and to take CHFA’s financial class. It was such an eye opening experience into the in’s and out’s of home ownership. It was then that we realized we could and wanted to buy our own home. With the help of a local realtor, we were ecstatic to see that the homes that were in our price range were just what we were looking for. So much so that we bought the very first house we looked at.

In addition to the importance of managing expenses, we were told in CHFA’s financial class, that with home ownership came responsibility; responsibility that would otherwise be carried out by a landlord had we chose to rent. While we were expecting minor fixes here and there, we quickly became well acquainted with the local home improvement store. Everything from sanding and painting to fully remodeling our bathroom became a necessity and a learning experience. Wanting to save as much as we could by doing most projects ourselves, there would be times when we would work all day at our jobs and come home and work some more on our house in order to get it just like we wanted it and ultimately make it our home.

Although the first couple years of owning our home were challenging, they were also very educational and enlightening into what life expects of you. Those years have influenced our life story in that we both work hard for everything we have and in everything we do. Pertaining not only to improving our home, but also now raising our two children to not give up or settle for anything less than what you want and to be just as hardworking as we are. Installing those morals, principals, and good work ethic, that we learned so early in our adult life, into our children is truly one of the best influences that home ownership has had in our lives.

My Own Home - A Place to Belong
Submitted by Kathy from Commerce City

In the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy had it right, "There's no place like home." Or rather there is no place like my OWN home. I am not your typical young family, first time buyer. At past middle age I had thought I was beyond the point in my life when buying a home was an option. And now here I am, loving my home and my new way of life!

If you had asked my while I was renting, I would never had mentioned not feeling like I had a place to belong, but having my own home has totally changed my perspective on what belonging and community means. Renting, no matter how stable, left me with a sense that it was temporary. If the community changed and I didn't like it, I could just move. I now that I own, I feel a real sense of that ownership, not just of the home, but of the neighborhood and community too. It is MY house, MY neighborhood and MY community. I want to be involved, to see it flourish and grow. I want to contribute to the city in which I live. I care about the other homes and the businesses in the area. For the first time in my life I want to really be a part of the community, to shop here, to volunteer here and to join the rec center. The bottom line is that I feel like I have permanency that I never had before!

I really enjoy my neighborhood. I love walking or driving around the neighborhood. I never did this while renting. It didn’t matter then, but it does now. I love knowing my neighbors, caring about them and knowing they care about me. It is with pride that I look out my window and see all of the nice family homes and well-kept yards. The homes are not large or expensive, but they are homey – they are me. They have also connected me to my past in a way I did not expect. The neighbor is not that different from the one in which I grew up. I find myself thinking about where I grew up and the things I did in my childhood home. While growing up I always mowed the lawn, but never thought about who did the trimming and the weeding – hmm, must have been my father even though I don't remember it. I do remember him planting gardens and flowers though and now I love getting out, mowing the lawn and taking care of the flowers, trees and shrubs. I have pride in my yard and I want it to look nice.

The permanence I feel is showing itself in planning and planting in the yard. Just like my father, I have always loved gardens. I was fortunate to buy a house that was beautifully landscaped. Keeping the basics of what was here, I have adapted and given the yard and flowers my own touch. I now research what plant are best for my light and soil condition. For the first time in my life I am looking at buying perennials – I will be here when they come up year after year.

My biggest surprise at owning my own home is how much I love redecorating! One of the first things I did was pull up the carpet and find beautiful hardwood floors underneath. I have spent many hours looking at decorating ideas and selecting paint colors. I am learning to do things myself and take great pride in what I do. In the future I have dreams of someday remodeling as well. That means long term planning. I want to make improvements to my home, that means I have to plan ahead and save money. I have stopped a lot of impulse buying and “retail therapy”. My money now goes for long term ideas and investments in my home. My life has changed! My values have changed! And I am loving it!

In addition to all of this I find that I always have company. This is really funny because I when renting I seldom entertained. I was gone more than I was home. Now, I can't wait to have people over and to share my little house with all of my friends. For the first time, several relative and friends from out of state want to come and visit. So it looks like I will be having more overnight guests too.

Finally, being conscientious and taking care of my house and yard has translated into also taking better care of myself. Some of this comes naturally as I do the yard work and spend more time outside but some of it is my general state of mind. I am kept busy with the house and yard so I don’t sit and “veg” as much. Because I am saving money, I eat out less and that means I am eating healthier and exercising more. I even signed up for an exercise program at work, the first in 5 years! I find that I actually care more about most things now. Taking care of my health, my future, my friends and my pets all go along with belonging in my home, my neighborhood, and my community.

And while I don’t have ruby slippers, I totally agree with Dorothy: There is no place like home!

Personal Statement for “My Home” Contest
Submitted by Charles from Morrison

The thought of owning a home had just been a dream of mine until well into my thirties. Many of my young adult years were spent in and out of prison, due to drug addiction. I did not think I would have the same opportunities at homeownership as others did, or so I thought. As I have grown older the value of life has changed for me. I married in 2003 and quickly realized, my new family and I needed a place for us to grow old and be surrounded by the memories of our life built there. I wanted a place that my children could have memories of for years to come. I wanted a place for my grandchildren to know they could come to and find a sense of comfort, known forever as Papa’s house. This place is what I now call home and home is where the heart is. Homeownership has forever changed my life in multiple different ways.

One of the ways it has changed my life in the sense of pride in our community. Our home represents us. The weekly care of the yard, the new planting of flower beds, the pulling of weeds, the new concrete in the backyard is making our house a home. I had always liked gardening but never a place to grow anything. I now have a huge backyard that can accommodate a garden, play area for our children/grandchildren, a place for a future hot tub and a beautiful deck for grilling in the summers. My daughters and I have countless hours of grooming the garden together which provides irreplaceable memories and help keep us active. We have been able to enjoy decorating for all the different seasons year-round. Halloween and Christmas are our favorite holidays and we take weeks preparing our house to look grand for the occasion. It is an amazing feeling to drive up the street and see your house waiting for you to come inside and fill it with more great memories. It surrounded us with warmth from the cold days or even from a bad day. Of course, our home seems to be the best on the block but I think we are a little bias.

I feel since I bought the house there is more responsibility bestowed upon me. It has made me a much better financial planner than I was before. There a tremendous amount of things that can go wrong with a house that can cost a lot of money. I have learned to save better for home emergencies which have influenced my planning for retirement. There is constant upkeep throughout the house that needs done on a schedule. The filters on the furnace and plumbing that needs to be properly checked and cleaned out, the yearly checks on the fireplace, water heater and air conditioning units. All of these things need to be done yearly so the house can function safely and at its best for as long as possible. These are just a few items that are a necessity; needless to say all of the D.Y.I projects that we want to do to personalize our space. Our home is almost like raising a child, we start with the shell and we continue to mold it until we have successfully finished our masterpiece.

Since I have owned this home, I realized we host several more event than ever before. Each event or gathering we have cements our appreciation of our home. It gives a great sense of pride and accomplishment to be able to show off our new landscaping projects or the new paint on the walls. The best part of it all is we have a space to allow for our friends and family to come spend all those special moments together. Once everyone else leaves, I still relish in the memories that surround us in our home. All it takes is a glance at the trampoline where the kids landed their first back-flip and the memories flood into my mind. If I did not own my home, those memories could have never happened or could have been forgotten while moving place to place.

I suppose when it all comes down to it, my home means more to me than I can express in words. I continue to work hard to make my home a better place to be for my family and my neighbors. It is the place I want to be after a challenging day. It is the place my children and grandchildren will forever know as their home too. It is my home to be comfortable in at all times no matter what is going on around us. It is the safe place for my children, the place where they know everything will be ok. It is my every day present to myself for the hard work I have done to own my home. This home is a huge part of my happily ever after. I bought a house that was turned into a home by memories of compassion and triumphs, dedication and love. It is now my kingdom where I have planted my roots; those roots have spread and will encompass generations of growth and memories to come.

Living the Dream
Submitted by Jesse and Megan from Colorado Springs

Homeownership is certainly an exciting start to a new chapter in our lives after years of being renters and wondering for a time if we would be renting indefinitely. The difference between those two worlds- that of renting a house or owning a home- To Megan and I is as clear as night and day.

I grew up the son of a tradesman. More precisely, hardwood floor installation, sanding, and finishing still to this day is my Dad’s profession. Suffice it to say that he has always been a very hard working man that taught me invaluable life lessons I’ve carried forever. He was a single father raising me, and he didn’t come to purchase his first home until I was a teenager, but everything changed in both of our lives after that came to be. Within five or so years from that time, my Dad and I had completed dozens of projects together and completely transformed that house into a truly incredible home.

The first project I remember doing began by tearing down a wall between two bedrooms in our basement and eventually turning it into one fairly large and amazing bedroom. I remember hesitating at first to even ask if he would even allow it, but when I did he said I could do it so long as I saw it through and cleaned up the mess I made. What a mess it was, but in a deeper sense what a lifelong reward it was as well.

I must have made a hundred trips up and down those stairs for different tools or more garbage bags, but after that initial tear down and clean up, we teamed up to make it something genuinely beautiful. Through that experience, my perspective shifted forever into what became a dream to me through my years of renting.

In a way, at times being a renter was torturous to me because I could see the potential all around me in every house I’ve ever lived in from the day I set out on my own. Though indescribably rewarding, remodeling usually takes quite a bit of time and money and in my experience, very few landlords choose to reimburse their tenants for such things if they even allow it at all.

That summarized piece of my history helps me to iterate the point that home ownership to my partner and I is absolutely a dream come true. Now the two of us get to do whatever we like with all those possibilities we see everywhere around us in our very own home. In the six months we’ve enjoyed first time homeownership, we’ve been able to team up as a couple and complete numerous improvements in our home that we can now enjoy for the rest of our lives.

Since becoming homeowners, we literally doubled our living space from our previous rental. I mention this because it gives us the room to create everything we’ve ever wanted in a home but could never achieve before. In due time we’ll create an office for us both to study in, a gym to exercise in, and two rooms for our greatest pastimes- A darkroom for her photography and a studio for my music. We already have a guest bedroom for when we have company- something we’ve never before had- and a suitable dining room for entertaining friends and family alike. Our first project together here was creating a comfortable and unique media room downstairs for the both of us to enjoy for years to come, and just seeing that room change from the origins of demolition through the steps of completion has been a profound gift to the both of us. While I’m at it, we have cats and a dog and they too love having the space that we now have for the first time in our adult lives.

Home ownership is a positive state of mind as well. From the day we found out that our offer had been accepted we’ve both had a newfound sense of pride, happiness, and fulfillment that is still strong likely for years to come. This very well could be our forever home, especially after the many years we will surely spend here with each other, our friends and our family. I can see myself proposing in this house, the two of us possibly being wed in the backyard, and raising our own family in this house among so many other things. There’s not a rental in my history that I could imagine those events taking place in.

As I thought of the many answers to the question of how owning a home has shaped or influenced my life, I kept thinking that ultimately it allows anybody to try their hand at creating the most ideal environment for themselves. I absolutely love the fact that the two of us can be carpenters, designers, and artists in our own way here like never before, and that’s just to name a few adjectives. In due time, we’ll become landscapers as well to craft our lawn and exterior to be exactly what we envision. I look forward to building things in our workshop I’ve never even attempted before- like one day trying my hand at crafting furniture, constructing a dog house, and making the most awesome mailbox stand on the block!

I suppose at the core of my context is that I’m proud to say this house is now our roots, and a chance for me to be as creative as I dare, whether it’s with the custom hardwood floors I’m putting in (yes, I followed in my Dad’s footsteps in a lot of ways), or framing and building innovative shelves in the basement. That sense of creation is more fundamental to my happiness than I can explain, and for the first time in my life I have the foundation to do it through home ownership.

My Home
Submitted by Tammy from Gunnison

Hi Everyone!

My name is Daisy, and I am a very cool four-year-old kitty-cat. I live with my human, well…my Mom of course, in Loveland, Colorado.

My Mom Tammy adopted me from the Larimer Humane Society when I was just a kitten. I was able to get my forever home because of CHFA. Shortly after my Mom Tammy moved into her new--our!--new house, she opened her heart and home to me. I am a very lucky kitty. Our home is where my story starts.

My Mom Tammy has owned her own home for almost four years. She says that she always wanted a “cute little house” near Downtown Loveland. When she found out about the CHFA Homeownership Program, she had support from Foothills Gateway to make her wish come true. My Mom Tammy leaves me alone sometimes to walk Downtown. She gets a lot of exercise, and can visit and shop at the stores she likes. My Mom Tammy knows everyone Downtown, and tells me that she talks about me. She likes to take her friends Downtown, and to share her neighborhood with them. We are so delighted to call Loveland our home. My Mom Tammy knows that she has her “forever” home, too.

My Mom Tammy loves flowers. We have flowers everywhere. We had a friend of ours make a nice ledge above the kitchen sink for her bamboo plants. They are thriving! We are, too. Our house has a cute bay window where I like to lay and watch the birds. I do not want to go outside, though. I am very content inside our home. In the Spring, Summer and Fall I can watch My Mom Tammy plant her flowers and tend her flowers and plant more flowers from my window. There are a lot of flowers and plants inside our house, too. I learned right away not to mess with my Mom Tammy’s flowers. She loves her flowers, but it is a good thing that she loves me more! My Mom Tammy likes to water and mow her lawn, too. She just planted some trees in the backyard. They are pretty, and I can watch the birds from the top of the washer and dryer in our laundry room. My Mom Tammy is happy to not have to go to the laundromat any more. From my windows, I have a very pretty yard to watch over. And I know to leave my Mom Tammy’s pretty flowers alone.

We love our house. My Mom Tammy was able to have it painted with the colors she wanted, inside and out. My Mom Tammy is very proud of her house, and our neighbors are very happy that we live here. We even have a barn, because our property was a farm over 100 years ago. My Mom Tammy wanted it painted barn red, and now it looks so nice.

My Mom Tammy and I relax together. When she comes home from work, I am so excited to see her. We are close to the bus stop, so she gets home quickly to spend time with me. She likes to soak in her bathtub, and enjoys the peace and quiet of our neighborhood. We stretch out on the couch and watch movies. My Mom Tammy says that she likes not living in an apartment that is noisy. And, she tells me that she could not have adopted me without owning her own house. The only noise at our house is the music from the vintage records that my Mom Tammy likes to collect. Sometimes she likes to turn the volume up, and we dance. And, then we relax on the couch again. I love our house!

My Mom Tammy has a lot of energy! She cleans a lot, and everyone who comes to visit us comments on how much they like being at our house. My Mom Tammy likes to show off her kitchen, and the wallpaper that she added two years ago. She saved her money and is getting new carpeting. She says I will like how soft it is on my paws. She picked out just the right color. It will be perfect, I know, because my Mom Tammy was able to get exactly what she wanted. I know that she will vacuum the new carpet more than she does already. Like I said, she has a lot of energy. And, our house lets her spend it!

My Mom Tammy likes it when her family visits our home, almost as much as she likes her peace and quiet. She loves her kids and her grandkids, and I do, too. My Mom Tammy enjoys playing with her grandkids, and always has fun things for them to do like sidewalk chalk and a swing-set in her backyard. After all of that activity …time to relax!

My Mom Tammy tells me that our house--our home--is perfect, and of course so am I! She always has new ideas for her house, and can do whatever she wants because it is our house forever. And ever!


Our Little House on the Prairie
Submitted by Dawni from Lamar

My husband and I decided to purchase a home in 1999 and have never regretted our decision. Previously, we had rented a small house following our wedding. Our finances were tight and our future was up in the air. I had a job as a teacher and my husband was ranching. Once we decided to make Lamar our home, we wanted to build or buy our first home. Our decision to get financing through Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA) allowed our dream to become a reality.

We now have a home in the country on two acres and are living the American dream. Home ownership brings a sense of pride to a young couple, such as ourselves. We planted a lawn, built corrals for our horses, put in a vegetable garden, and designed things to our specifications and preferences. Renters are not often given the freedom to do the above mentioned improvements.

When we crunched the numbers to see whether or not we could afford to pursue home ownership, the monthly payment was only slightly higher than what we were paying in rent for a much smaller place. We figured our money would be working for us instead of fleeing from our wallets. We are now in our 15th year of home ownership. It is a good feeling to know that this our place and we work hard to make the payments to keep it.

Shannon and I are social people and we like to host gatherings in our home. Our children’s birthday parties have always been held at our home with 30-40 guests. Holiday meals can now be held at our home, since we have a large enough place to invite people. It is the social gathering place that we choose to share our lives with the people we love.

Another positive aspect of being homeowners is that it gives our family stability. We now have two children, aged 12 and 10 years. They enjoy knowing that they will grow up in the same house and can expect to come home to a safe, secure, clean and loving home. With our society so unstable, mobile and unpredictable, our goal of providing a safe haven for our children, and each other, is pinnacle. I asked my son what he liked most about the idea of being a homeowner. Here was his response, “Mom, I like knowing that no one can take it away from us.” My daughter said, “I like the freedom of being able to paint the walls whatever color we want, without having to ask a landlord.”

In conclusion, it is hard for me to put into words what home ownership means to a family. There is just something cohesive about a family owning its own home and knowing this little dot on the map is “ours”. This sense of pride in our home compels us to put our name on the front door knocker and continue to live the American dream.

My Home Contest
Submitted by Mark from Colorado Springs

My name is Mark. I reside at #### xxxx dr. in Colorado Springs*. I am a proud father of three amazing women, and three beautiful granddaughters. One who was born on May 14th, and another grandchild on the way! After renting all my life, I finally said enough. I am now 60 years old and have owned my house for almost a year now and I couldn’t be more thrilled. The process almost made me give up. The emails and calls from the banker and sells broker on needed information from month to month and having to pay off a couple bills not knowing how or if I would be able too was frustrating. I was blessed to have my daughters get me through it.

My oldest daughter and her two girls have been living with me for a couple years. She has been suffering from lupus and Rheumatoid arthritis. She’s been ill and over gone several surgeries over the years. I have been their stability and still am. Now that she has had her third daughter this month, I’m very happy I have made the decision to stick with buying this beautiful home to have her raise my grand daughters in.

This is just one of the main reasons I’m happy my wife has been living in New Mexico for the past three years taking care of her ill mother struggling with cancer. Her mother unfortunately passed away in April and has now come home to our new home. My wife who had not seen the house when I bought it was very pleased. I have also been able to save and put money back into my own home by doing the things I enjoy. Which is gardening, fixing and improving the appearance and detail of my new home!

Now I can say I am content with how my last year has turned out. We have more family gatherings and enjoy the time we spend together as a family knowing we can finally say we have a home to make our own!

Thank you.

*Address redacted to protect our customer’s privacy.

Home is where my story starts...
Submitted by Anna from Thornton

My journey to home ownership did not start the day I signed for the home. It actually began on my first date with my love, my life partner, my husband and best friend. July of 2010 we met and the connection made was comfortable and promising. I knew I would marry and spend the rest of my life with this man. We were inseparable and ready for what was in store for our life together.

March of 2011 he brought up the topic of moving in together. By May of 2011 we were signing a lease on our first place together. It was an easy decision to make. I truly love him. Then March of 2012 he decided we were going to get married. No proposal just a definite declaration of marriage. Six months later September 15, 2012 we were married. By this time I was head over heels and knew there wasn’t anything we couldn’t do. Finally March of 2013 once again my very ambitious husband suggested we should buy a house. A little nervous and skeptical at first, I couldn’t think of a better idea and what a great step this would be for us. So months later, May of 2013, we signed on our first home. The most incredible and totally awesome feeling I could ever imagine. In case you didn’t notice it was very coincidental that our big decisions in life were made in the month of March. It is a very magical month for us, the month I look forward to each year. Just this past March, we talked about bringing in a new addition to our family. Yes you guessed it, we’re trying to get pregnant.

We moved into our home June 2013, and since then the changes and improvements have been endless. I discovered a new side of myself. I realized I had a great eye for color and style. I love our home. From painting inside and out, to new flooring, its only the beginning of our journey to build a happy and very lovable home. The best part is that we both have no problem agreeing on what we want. This summer season, we’ll take our talents outside, and create a beautiful outdoor living space front and back. We have so many ideas its crazy. This home has no doubtedly made our marriage stronger but it has also aloud us to create cherishable memories with our friends and family.

With CHFA’s helping had we are now living a dream come true. We are so very thankful and hope to share our story with others. Spread the word!!! Shout it out!!! Your chance at happiness through home ownership is waiting. Take that chance, want it, feel it, grab it, its yours. Thanks so much CHFA…

Our Home
Submitted by Dee from Fort Collins

The house was a foreclosure in need of work, yet full of potential. The yard was weedy and featureless, with a rotting 70 year-old apple tree. The interior had poorly executed updates and vandalized wiring that needed to be addressed to make it livable.

Despite the issues, my husband instantly jumped at the opportunity to buy a house we could afford in an established neighborhood with mature trees, nice sidewalks; with proximity to our jobs, downtown businesses, Poudre River and trails.

Our summer was spent getting to work on our “new” 1927 home. We ripped out dusty carpets, scraped up linoleum tiles and removed dated built-ins so that we could get the wood floors refinished. The first week we “moved in” we lodged in the garage, sleeping with the doors wide open and our stuff stacked all about us while we waited for polyurethane to dry.

One of those early days in residence we discovered a half dozen eggs and a friendly note on our front porch from the couple next door. Another neighbor stopped by to introduce himself, just in time to help us maneuver an unwieldy wardrobe down our narrow cellar stairway.

As there were few operable electrical outlets and no ceiling fixtures we depended upon a web of extension cords. The house was also short on appliances so we improvised cooking simple meals on a hot plate I had picked up at a yard sale. It had no on/off or temperature control. We plugged it in to heat and then yanked the cord with a spark to keep things from burning.

Finally, with the help of an experienced friend, we set about rewiring the house. Being the smallest of the crew, I spent a lot of time in the hot attic with a flashlight, pulling wires. We soon realized a wiring diagram was important, and after investigating the source of my extreme fatigue, our electrical plan identified the smaller of two bedrooms as the “baby room”.

An expectant mother, I was eager to get the house ready. With fervor we removed layers and layers of wallpaper, patched plaster, stripped woodwork and finally got an oven that would fit our tiny kitchen! We baked 3 huge apple pies with sour green apples from our tree. They were good, but oddly crunchy - after cooking and cooking for over 2 hours the apple slices never got tender.

In the fall I planted over 50 bulbs, set to bloom around the baby’s spring due date. By October we noticed our green apples had turned a gorgeous rosy red! My mom sent us a silver chime baby rattle and numerous grounded outlet multipliers for Christmas. Things were coming together.

Through the winter my husband and I enjoyed each other’s company as I rested and relaxed more than usual. The final bouts of frenzied nesting resulted in a well-scrubbed kitchen floor and the replacement of deteriorated bathtub tile. After that I relinquished my need to make the house “perfect” It was amply warm and cozy with sunlight streaming in the windows. We needed nothing more.

On a crisp April morning my water broke and I set out to make a carrot cake for the occasion. Labor was beginning and I felt great.

The next morning our son was born, pink but not breathing. Before I knew it he was on his way by helicopter to The Children’s Hospital in Denver. After 4 days on life support, with no answers in sight he died in our arms.

If we had not become emotionally and financially invested in the house I don’t know that we would have stayed. It might have been too unbearable. It was hard enough to return all the baby things my sister-in-law was loaning us. To write cards for shower gifts, still arriving. To explain what happened. To face neighbors when all I wanted to do was cry and run away.

At a time that I was so grief stricken as to not know my place at all in the world, I had a place.

Then our friend and previous housemate approached us with a landscape plan. The idea was to install a memorial garden in our backyard. Plants were donated, gift certificates from nurseries received. Memorial garden gifts arrived from near and far; three boulders, a weather vane, fruit trees to plant in our son’s honor.

On Mother’s Day – the first Saturday after the local frost date – work days began. Neighbors and friends hummed and chatted as they created a raised, horseshoe-shaped bed. River rocks were placed, stepping stones laid, and ground cover planted by the loving hands of adults and children of our community.

Our home. The structure, the garden, the people – that grounded us and healed us during this difficult time. We cannot imagine ever leaving it. Seven years later, the apple tree still flowers and our daughter plays in its shade. And this is where our story starts.

My Story
Submitted by Dorothy from Fountain

It’s difficult to express what home ownership means to me. I never would have thought three years ago that I would be in this lovely home of my own. Being able to enjoy the beautiful yard with the squirrels, songbirds and flowers is a great joy.

I appreciate the quiet neighborhood with nearby shopping and dining. After living in rural areas of the county where winds and sands are a constant, the shade of the trees and cool of the lawn are a soothing blessing.

When looking for a new house for myself, I wanted to find a home that was affordable, comfortable and would be easy to maintain. I looked at many places, but had problems finding something that met the criteria I had set for my new home.

Upon seeing the first pictures of my new home, I knew and just felt that it would be exactly what I was looking for. I couldn’t believe that it was selling for the price that fit into my budget.

The buying process was more distressing than I had ever imagined. Inspections, signing paperwork and having new problems come up, seemed to be a weekly occurrence. I stuck with it and after a few months the house and property are now mine.

A new home, that is all mine, that‘s where my days start and end. I make decisions on where the flowers should go and how often to wash the dishes and take out the trash. Being closer to work and shopping are things that make my daily routine more comfortable and allow me to have more time to start and develop new hobbies and interests.

I look forward to being in this home for many years. At age 59, retirement is a few years away, but I feel that when that time comes, I can use my house as a comfortable site to enjoy the rest of my days. No one could have explained to me how wonderful owning my own home would be. When asked, “How do you like you new house?”, my response is always, “ I love it!” and I do.

My Story
Submitted by Kimberly from Grand Junction

Homeownership has helped me and my family in many ways. I got my CHFA loan about 10 years ago. Since then I have graduated college and have a wonderful family. Because of CHFA we have a stable place to live that we call home. I believe it helps the self confidence to be able to say “it’s my home, I own it.” We love being able to change what we want and know if we make improvements it’s to benefit us, not someone else. There really is no greater comfort than to have your family happily gathered in the comforts of home.

Homeownership Is Where My Story Starts
Submitted by Barbara from Pueblo

An oak tree does not produce acorns until it is fifty years old. This is a good comparison to how homeownership is where my story starts, as I am now fifty-one. Homeownership has influenced my life in three ways it has given me sanctuary, stability, and the feeling I belong. I never felt more at home. A half century of subsistence filled struggling to find my place in this world I could call home. Homeownership has given me the ability to thrive because I possess the vital needs I longed for as a human being.

Home ownership has given me a sanctuary. A sanctuary is my shelter from the anxiousness I feel when I am out in the world. I love being able to express my personality in the wall hangings purchased at the thrift store. The feel of the carpet under my feet knowing I am on the way to owning this patch of land. The pride I feel in the guardianship of what is entrusted to my care. My home surrounds me in warmth, an element I would never experience without the help of the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority Program. My home is an expression of my growth.

Homeownership gives me security and stability. I have been a vagabond in my unsettled experiences of the world around me. I now have the security of possessing a physical key, a concrete function of my protection. In my life, I have slept in some of the most peculiar places, lost of the feeling of home. Running was my safety net. Homeownership has had a profound influence on my life. I spent a half-century struggling for a place in this world I could call home, using places, and relationships trying to find it. The Colorado Housing and Finance Authority helped me find safety and security in my own home, not at the expense of trading in who I am to another person’s will over me. I have the security to blossom.

Homeownership has enabled me to feel like I belong, having a place to call home. After forty years, I finally met my biological mother. I found myself at a crossroad; I had the feeling of ‘now what do I do’. I looked for answers to why she left me at the age of two and a half. Those answers in hand, and homeless at the time, people I met helped me with the process of my housing, through the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, leading to the ownership of my own home. Homeownership influenced my life, because I have started to build healthy relationships. I recently started going to the community center involving myself in a stretching class. I also enjoy the use of a treadmill, practicing the art of walking. Relationships take time. I am growing roots, becoming a positive factor in my community. I never felt more at home.

The thought of being the guardian of this place I call home has enabled me to become aware that I can make a difference. The sanctuary, stability, and the feeling of belonging give me the safety to learn my experiences were a teaching tool toward empathy. Still unsure of my path or purpose, I do know that homeownership has laid a foundation for my growth and self-determination. My hope is to pay it forward by being a better human being. I feel so blessed to have the privilege and support the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority granted me.

A New Beginning
Submitted by Zachary and Heidi from Colorado Springs

“October?” My husband’s happy face was also mixed with an expression of worry. “October. OK.” Zach drew a deep breath and embraced me. I knew that it would be hard, but I also knew many people had done it before. “So, do you think it is a girl or a boy?” I said as we continued to hug.

It was February and our second baby was due in October. Neither of us could hide the concern we felt raising another child in an apartment barely big enough for us and our two year old daughter, Chloe. Although we were excited for the arrival of our next baby, we struggled to feel at ease about the home we had. Over the next five months, we visited countless apartments, house rentals, and condos looking for a space big enough for our growing family while still staying within a budget. My part-time job as a nurse and my husband’s part-time job as a youth counselor could not bring enough income in for the space that we wanted. With each possible home, we were met with defeat. Then one July evening my husband frantically called me while I was working.

“Heidi, Heidi! Can you get to a computer? You need to look at something.” I typed in the address and hit enter. Before my eyes was a beautiful sight. A cream house with green trim, four bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, nearly 2,000 square feet, wood floors throughout. I was instantly in love.

“So, how much is the rent?” I said sarcastically. My husband’s silence confused me.

“Well, it’s actually for sale”, was his response.

I went on to remind him that home ownership was something we never could afford, but that it was a nice thought. Deep down inside, I wanted the house. I hung up the phone and quietly cried.

“I just wish things were different,” I said to myself.

The next morning we had a viewing scheduled to see a downtown rental. But instead of showing up, we somehow found ourselves standing in front of the cream house with green trim.

“Call them right now,” I said. “I want to see it.” A few hours later, Tracy, a slender brunette met us at the front door. We walked in and out of each room and although I kept to myself, I felt like I was walking in my home. We finished our walk-through and Tracy gave us her card. But still, something didn’t feel right. Surely we could not afford this beautiful home.

“Can we just see if we qualify?” Zach pleaded. “We have a small amount for a down payment. You just never know.”

I reluctantly agreed to call the loan company to punch in some numbers. That evening, we anxiously awaited a phone call from Mel, the loan officer.

“Well I have good news!” she said. She went on to explain that we qualified for a loan that only required a 3% down payment, which is exactly what we had in our savings. We embraced and called Tracy immediately to set up a meeting to put in an offer.

Two months later, we signed on the dotted line and they handed us keys to our first home. We quickly raced over to the house and unlocked the door. This was our home!! And it was the beginning of a new chapter for our family. Both Arizona natives, our numerous life adventures in the Rocky Mountain landscape had brought us many challenges, surprises, and blessings. I believe all things in life happen for a reason and that our story – my story, started a long time ago when my parents brought me home to our first house. But Haley – Haley’s story did begin here. On October 8, 2013 at 5:28am, Haley Simone Guzman took her first breath as we welcomed her into our family. She was born on a cool fall morning at home...our first home was where her story had begun, and somehow it suddenly all made sense.

All things happen for a reason, and even though we didn’t expect to have a second child so quickly, it was truly the reason we had taken the steps to find a house. Her life was the driving force behind this great blessing in front of us. Jet black hair and brown eyes gazed up at me.

“October,” I smiled and kissed her head. “October, my sweet Haley. And this is only the beginning.”

My Story
Submitted by Escquiel from Aurora

Home ownership has changed my whole view of the world. All my life, I have never felt where I lived was my home. It was a building in which I could rest my body, but my soul was never grounded to the piece of land or building. I never felt at peace mentally, it was an anguish to stay home. So as soon as I woke, I departed as quickly as possible. As a youth, my family lived like nomads, constantly moving from house to house. As adults we tend to have fond memories of our past residences, all I remember is a sign on our front door condemned or going back to one of our old houses and it being turned into a parking lot.

I raised two wonderful daughters, who have brought great joy to my life. One day my daughter calls and tells me her mother and stepsister were losing their home. At the time I was living in a 400 square foot house with room for only one person. I jokingly said that her mother and her could stand in the corner to sleep. So I have always told my daughter that nothing was impossible, and that I was going to try to purchase a home where we could all live so my ex-wife, daughter, and her stepsister. So as fate goes, I had looked at many houses and none were big enough to house a family or enough space so we would not hear our neighbor cough next door.

So one day my daughter, her sister, and ex-wife are driving around looking for a home and we turn right going on Osceola and go to the top of the hill. At the end of the street is my dream house, a vacant lot on one side, and a church on the other. So I call my realtor and lender and said can I qualify for this house? He says yes and away I go. It was a struggle the whole way. What truly saved me is that CHAFA had a class for first time homebuyers to get homeowners assistance.

It took almost six months to consummate the process. Even the closing was a struggle, receiving the paper work that night. We moved in a few days before my birthday of December 14, and then Christmas was around the corner. So our first dinner in our new home, I had my daughter say a prayer of thanks for our new home. Now I finally feel my home, is a place of rest. And my soul is bound to the land. Thank you CHAFA for making my dream come true.

My CHFA Story
Submitted by Amy from Grand Junction

The American Dream has come to me
From rental properties, I am free

Listen as I explain my path
Have no fear, there’s not much math

In childhood, education and helping others were values taught
What we ought to do & what was naught

Raised with a strong work ethic
Delaying gratification was one trick

Taking all of this to heart
A professional journey I was about to start

Schooling lasted many long difficult years
Lots of blood, sweat, & tears

Classes, practicum, dissertation, internship
Completed on both coasts-what a wild and crazy trip

A doctorate in psychology was the goal
That achievement felt deep in my soul

That type of commitment can be a sacrifice
No pay, to low pay, to student loans that don’t look too nice

“Dr. Amy” now works in community mental health
Helping those who do not have much wealth

In my personal life, I had four rentals in five years
All in one Colorado county- I was close to tears

Hearing yelling and screaming during the night
And all the walls were the same shade of white

It was time to make a major change
Even though owning as a “single” seemed a bit strange

A fabulous realtor plus fantastic lender
Equaled support and guidance that were tender
They fully understood my needs
And my budget, they did heed

When looking, I brought my really close friends
To help see things from a different lens

I passed the class for CHFA first-time home buyers
And felt my knowledge base grow higher

Loans, credit scores, and house labor
Plus, how to be a really good neighbor

I learned the rules one-by-one
And felt accomplished when I was done

A few weeks later, papers were signed
I couldn’t believe the phenomenal house was mine!

An open concept with bedrooms down the hall
Now, there’s hardly any white paint on the walls

My life has shifted in a positive way
Feeling relaxed and settled every day

No worries about needing to move or pack
Home improvement is becoming a knack

At home and safe in the ------- neighborhood
While making payments, as I know I should

I am happy and healthy in my new home
For now there is no reason to roam

I’ve learned a new way to de-stress and relax
Gardening and planting flowers to the max

To the CHFA loan program, I say a big thank you
For you have made this single, professional girl’s American Dream come true!

My Story
Submitted by Kitten from Colorado Springs

Home ownership has changed my view of the world in many ways! When I first purchased my condo more than 7 years ago, I had recently just divorced, was making very little money, and was raising a little girl on my own. I was scared of the responsibility yet determined to succeed. This was my first home purchase and I wanted to make our home a place of serenity, safety, and warmth. Over the years I've come to discover that owning a home has helped my me and my daughter Hana, become strong and independent. Having a place to go at the end of the day that's ours has made a tremendous improvement on our mental well-being.

I thoroughly enjoy being able to teach my daughter how cook with me. This is a special time for us each night. Teaching her recipes like; lasagna and home made soups, have proven to be extremely rewarding and fun for us both and a time at home that teaches her that being home is a good thing! We eat dinner together and talk about our day, we do something our church calls "roses and thorns" each night and talk about the things that were good and bad in our day. I am able to teach her the responsibility of owning a pet too. A giant beautiful Ragdoll cat that she adores. Each summer we garden on our patio and grow fruit and flowers, something we both love to do. We have developed relationships with all of our surrounding neighbors and even those in other buildings. We are active in our community as we participate in making sure our part is done by keeping our grounds clean, caring for the other homeowners well-being, and respecting the HOA rules.

We love being in our home! We have made it ours, we have painted it, decorated it, and furnished it with a style all our own. When family and friends visit us, they always mention how "homey" and "warm" our home is. Taking care of my home has been a responsibility that I have come to love and cherish. I enjoy keeping it clean, improving the appliances, I even put a new furnace in a couple years ago. My life has changed in so many positive ways since purchasing my home with CHFA. I am independent, happy, healthy, and raising a beautiful daughter that can learn through my example, that she too can own a home and have a wonderful quality of life. Although our home isn't a giant piece of property, it's our home and what we love most about our home is that it hugs us when we walk in.

Thank you CHFA for making my story successful and opening new doors for us!

Home Is Where My Story Starts
Submitted by Ellen from Morrison

My husband and I thought we’d never be homeowners. It seemed so out of reach, as we had no savings even into our late 20s. I was a lowly editorial assistant and he was a struggling carpenter, and we were engaged in June 2006. One day we decided to consult with some realtors and see if we could actually pull off a mortgage payment. We met with one who told us to ask for the moon from a lender, which we knew would result in financial ruin. We met with one who said we could only afford a small condo, when we wanted a house with a yard. We met with another who mentioned government-assisted loans and painted a realistic picture of what we could afford. We started to think we could really do it, on our terms, despite needing to find the perfect fixer-upper.

It took a couple of months of looking at the most dilapidated houses in the worst parts of town. But we finally found the diamond in the rough that we could live in and work on. In February of 2007, we were homeowners. Signing all of those documents gave us the most liberated feeling. We felt so “adult,” and so in charge of our future.

We bought a foreclosure, and with that came many problems. The previous owners stripped it clean. There were no light fixtures, holes in the walls, windows missing, carpet badly stained and damaged from candle wax…the list goes on and on. It was overwhelming, but still exciting.

The first day in the house, we evaluated and prioritized the biggest problem areas and made a strategy, and numerous lists, to tackle things one at a time as money allowed. We vowed not to go into debt (or at least too much debt that we couldn’t pay off in a timely manner) to have the house we really truly wanted.

The first room we attempted to improve was the master bath. It was the smallest room in the house, and we figured we could finish it quickly and have a small retreat to escape the rest of the garbage surrounding us. We demolished it down to the studs, installed a new shower, new flooring, new toilet, new vanity, new light fixtures, new everything. It was arduous and involved. I’ve never been to Home Depot so many times in my life. I said to my husband, “If we survive this, we’ll be together forever!”

We were married in September of that year and knew we would have people traveling far and wide to see our new house. We stepped it up and started on the guest bath, which had caution tape over the door since move-in day. Again we ripped everything out to the studs and renovated it into a spa retreat. All fixtures were found on sale or on eBay. We installed a second sink. We tore down a small wall to expand the shower. It was even more grueling than expected. I said to my husband, “If we survive this, we’ll really be together forever.”

By this time, I received a promotion at work and money started getting better. My husband started his own business and was doing very well. Renovations took a backseat, but at least we had two fabulous bathrooms to call our own. Slowly, we replaced the carpet, refurbished the office (all with spare materials from my husband’s job sites), replaced the roof, installed a new fireplace insert and made plans for the kitchen overhaul and basement finishing. Every year we tackled something new, once the last job was paid off.

In 2011, we had our first baby. That meant one of the spare bedrooms needed finishing. Miraculously, and without help from me, my husband managed to install a new window (one that actually closed), repair the drywall and paint, and install a closet organizer—all before the birth in July. Again, renovations took a backseat once the infant was under our roof. We were out of our minds without sleep and trying to adjust to the new addition in our family. In the wee small hours one night, while rocking the crying baby who couldn’t be soothed, I said to my husband, “If we survive this, we’ll certainly be together forever.”

A year later we found the time, and funds, to redo the backyard. We installed new sod, built above ground planter boxes to border the new fence and added a fire pit. We repaired the deck, which was different shades of blue, green and tan from chipped paint since move-in day, sanded and painted it. Now we had an outdoor retreat where our son could play on actual grass (not dirt) and without fear of splinters.

Owning our house has been a labor of love. It’s been a lesson in patience and compromise—and scrimping and saving. It’s strengthened our marriage and made us better partners. Now that I’m pregnant with twin girls, it’s the place we’ll bring all of our babies and raise them. We still may have the kitchen and basement to finish—well into their teen years—but my husband and I will continue our quest of making our house a home, knowing that we’ll be together forever because of it.

Move In Day
​Submitted by Jenni from Colorado Springs

“You’re in a great neighborhood,” called a voice from behind. br />
My arms still carrying a box too big for them, I shut my car door with my hips and turned to see a woman crossing the street toward me. Still halfway in the street with a smile and an energetic half-wave she called again, “I’m Amy. You couldn’t have moved to a better neighborhood!” She hopped onto the sidewalk and extended a hand to greet me. I shuffled the box around my hips nearly toppling myself over and timidly offered an elbow. She laughed and said, “Here, let me help you with that.” She took the other side of the box and together we walked into my newly purchased home.

Full of side-laying furniture, more boxes and propped up mattresses, the scene couldn’t be more littered with my household belongings. We entered to find my husband trying to control our four year old girl who was already excitedly unwrapping packaging tape from boxes and winding her one-year old baby brother in it.

“Oh, you have little ones too! I have two girls just their age!” Amy chirped, then she neared the closest window and pointed down the street, “and the Stephenson’s have a boy in kindergarten and Mary and Joe on the other side-” (turning her gaze and finger) “-have a boy and a girl! All of us take turns having the kids play in our front yard …” and with a laugh and a cupped hand over her mouth added, “giving us, moms, a break from time to time, you know.”

I gave a small involuntary laugh with her and suddenly recollected my first impression upon moving into a two bedroom apartment with my husband and my toddler girl. After going up and down and up and down that narrow stairwell to our second floor apartment with boxes and bags and furniture, suddenly (just to add to the chaos) I heard my daughter say, “Mommy, what’s this red thing do?” With two boxes balancing over my head midway up the steps, I see my two old on her tippy-toes reaching above her head to the shiny, bright red forbidden thing on the wall in front of her. Unable to hurry toward her, I belatedly (and vainly) screamed out, “DON’T YOU DARE TOUCH THAT!!…” as her arm came down. Yep. The fire alarm was already pulled. With sirens going off and people evacuating, I felt the harsh stares of my new neighbors piercing through the back of my head. From that day on I felt like a public enemy to anyone within two buildings of my home.

“Oh, and every year we have a summer block party. The next party’s in a couple months.” Amy’s words snapped me out of my horrid and now humorous flashback.

“That sounds wonderful,” I said with a smile.

“Of course the kids always get together too on the neighbor’s trampoline and we adults can chit-chat and have adult conversations… I said adult twice. Jeez, sorry, it’s just so nice to be around people where I’m not just a mommy talking at the level of a first-grader, you know what I mean?” And she threw her head back and laughed, noisily taking in air and crinkling her green eyes. Tossing her hair back and regaining composure, she said, “Alright, well if you need anything just let me know… even if it’s just a cup of sugar!” She gave another energetic half-wave and stepped out.

I took a moment smiling to myself, watching her through my open front door as she crossed the street and entered her home in front of mine. In my brief contemplation I hardly noticed the noise of my helping companions behind me. Then, scratching the back of my head, I went back to work at unpacking.

Needless to say, in the months that followed I had several more “adult” conversations with Amy and she formally introduced me to more neighbors as they appeared in their yards. My family and I attended our first block party that summer and contributed with our own bacon-wrapped grilled hotdogs. Upon our first Christmas in our new home my kids and I made a few tasty batches of Christmas ginger bread men (using the icing decorations as far as the skills of half-sized humans can take you) and together, marched in the snow, knocked on each door of the block and passed out the morsels through every door that opened, meeting some new neighbors for the first time. My kids quickly became part of the neighborhood Munchkin gang which still frequents our front yard (always equipped with sticks and toy helmets of course).

Today, three years after that remembered move-in day to this house, my family and I still know our neighbors and they know us. We are thankful that as times of need came along we had friendly people so close by to help out. Following Amy’s example, we’ve also been there to welcome new neighbors as they arrived. My kids, now doing well in kindergarten and pre-school, love having close friends next door to play with. My husband and I love the sense of community and companionship that our neighbors bring, knowing that we are developing relationships that will last a lifetime. Looking back, I know that Amy was right. We couldn’t have moved to a better neighborhood!

Here’s My Story
Submitted by Rochelle from Pueblo

After my Mother lost her battle with lung cancer, I moved back home to Colorado, after living in San Diego, California for 21 years. I was a Single Mother, and I had a good paying job, but I wasn’t able to purchase a home in San Diego. I could barely afford to pay rent. Less than two months after moving back to Colorado, with CHFA’s help, I closed escrow on my first home.

Being a homeowner has changed my life because it’s helped me to be rooted in my community and has brought joy to my life. I’ve been able to decorate and paint my home as I wish, it’s so nice to have a the option to do so. I have two dogs and two cats for the first time since I was a child. I was not allow to have pets in the apartments I lived in.

My children are grown now but we’ve created some wonderful memories in our little home. Now I have something to pass on to my children and grandchildren so they can make their own memories here. You may wonder if I miss San Diego and the answer is Yes, absolutely. It’s a great place to visit, but it doesn’t compare to having my own home and living within 15 minutes of my immediate family. They say “Home is where the heart is”, my home and heart are here in Colorado.