There’s No Place Like Home
Talita Elizeu is a 26-year-old Massachusetts native, who has been living in Jersey City for the past five years. She loves the tight-knit community that Jersey City has to offer and being surrounded by like-minded individuals and families. After renting for several years, Talita received a raise at her job and was finally able to move forward with her dream of becoming a homeowner.
Talita’s close friend, who had a positive experience with New Jersey Community Capital (NJCC), encouraged her to apply to NJCC’s Address Yourself Program. Address Yourself enables a path towards intergenerational wealth for low- to moderate-income individuals and families through affordable homeownership while also building equitable and stable neighborhoods and communities.
“In a four-month span, my life has totally changed,” Talita expresses. “The idea of actually being able to afford to buy a home came into my mind in May, then in June I put an offer on the first house I ever put an offer on, and now I’m a homeowner.” Talita was able to move into her home in September 2021 after receiving free housing counseling and a $15,000 down payment assistance grant from NJCC.
Working with NJCC more than exceeded Talita’s expectations. Thanks to one of NJCC’s partner lenders, Talita was quickly approved for a mortgage and was able to close on her new home and move in all within a couple of months. “I was really overwhelmed with the home buying process in the beginning, but then I reached out to NJCC, and they encouraged me to continue the process and to trust that it was all going to work out,” says Talita. “Without that final push towards the finish line, and the team’s kindness and support, I would not be where I am today.”
Talita loves that her new home is only a twenty-minute walk, or an even shorter bike ride, away from the train station, where she can easily travel to meet her friends and family after work. Almost every day she enjoys the fresh air by taking a walk in the park that is only a five-minute stroll down the street.
As a previous tenant herself, Talita understands how difficult it can be for renters. In the hopes of increasing her own monthly income as well as providing a stable, affordable, and comfortable rental space, she plans to renovate her upstairs apartment. Talita wants to make sure this updated living space is affordable for her tenant. “I know what it’s like to be a renter and to worry about your monthly rent increasing, or not having the freedom to create a home out of a place,” she explains. “I love that I have the opportunity to help at least one person feel more at home in their rental space.”
As Talita slowly customizes her home each day, she explains that there are many small and larger projects she is looking forward to working on over the next few months and even years. She plans on making this home a place for her to potentially raise a family, surrounded by the neighborhood and community she loves.
“I feel a newfound sense of freedom and ease in my life now,” Talita explains, “I am so hopeful for the future.”