From Renters to Homeowners

Angie’s son in front of the Welcome to Milwaukie sign

After living in a one-bedroom apartment in one of Northwest Housing Alternatives’ (NHA) properties for twelve years, Angie and her husband reached a goal many Portlanders struggle to achieve—buying their own home.

Angie, who is a case manager at a nonprofit, and her husband, who teaches at Tigard High School, saved for their new home through the IDA, or Individual Development Account program. Angie found out about the program through a flyer posted in the community room of their building by her NHA Resident Service Coordinator.

She was especially interested in buying a home because she knew that they would soon need more space—she was pregnant with their son.

IDAs are matched savings accounts that provide three dollars for every one dollar saved, which can then be used on eligible expenses such as a new car, education, retirement, or purchasing a home. The program also provides relevant financial education, such as home buying courses.

Residents at NHA properties are set up with IDAs through the Resident Services program, which connects residents to services that help them stay stable in their housing and achieve their personal and financial goals.

Going through the IDA program “was really good,” said Angie. “It motivated us to keep at buying a house instead of just talking about it.”

The family saved for three years before reaching their goal, and in the meantime moved to a larger one-bedroom apartment when their son was born in 2017.

Despite the classes and the savings, finding the perfect home still wasn’t easy, said Angie. “We originally wanted a condo in the Hillsdale-Multnomah Village area,” she said. “But we weren’t finding anything that we liked.”

They expanded their search to Milwaukie and put an offer in on their home at the end of September. “We attached a picture of our baby on our bid,” said Angie, which she said felt like a good luck charm.

The offer was accepted, and the family has now moved in to their two-bedroom home, which is close to the MAX and other public transportation—a major selling point for Angie and her family.

“It was a really good experience,” she said. “It has a finished basement, a yard, laundry, a garage. It’s exciting to not have to worry about living in an apartment or having to move.”

We at Northwest Housing Alternatives are so proud of Angie and her family and what they were able to accomplish. Congratulations to them, and we wish them the best of luck in their new home.