First-time Home Buyer

Michael, the co-worker whom I’m working with for affordable housing, took me to Salem (the witch trial place!) last Thursday to sign off the last affordable house of the Bowdoin-Geneva Housing LLC. in Dorchester. This house belongs to the 16 foreclosured houses that Viet-AID bought and renovated to livable condition and then sold off-public to low-income first-time buyers.

Thus, Michael and I went to a neat-looking lawyer building to carry out our transaction. The people present were the lawyer, a staff worker from Boston Housing Authority, us, the buyer lady and her two young daughters. The lawyer basically went over stacks and stacks of documents regarding all the procedures of buying the house, from the insurance on the deed to the monthly downpayment and to the condition of the washer and dryer.

I was especially impressed when the lady from Boston Housing Authority told me about the grants that first-time buyers receive from Boston HUD (Housing & Urban Development) that come up to $30,000 with no payback. Also, with the stimulus packet that President Obama has signed off, each of the low-income first time buyer is entitled to $8,000 with no payback or string attached if they buy a house this year. Of course, in order to qualify for these grants, these buyers have to be first time homebuyers, in the low bracket of income, have a steady job, and go through homebuying counseling and training so that they understand the ins and outs of the mortgage system.

The most rewarding part of the trip was when Michael gave the keys and a huge binder about the details of the house to the two young daughters. Their face were beaming with pride and happiness, and their mother let out a sigh of relief since she has been trying to buy one of the houses with Viet-AID for the past 5 years, and she finally made it. The mother and daugthers were busy discussing about how they would decorate their house and which floors the girls are going to live in. It’s like witnessing the American Dream coming true

Amazing Bostonians

I enjoy Boston thoroughly. I fall in love with this city not only because of the convenience of the public transportation (subway, bus, and commuter rails are available to take you anywhere 2 hours away from Boston), but because of the wonderful people that we met in Boston.

My co-workers at Viet-AID are the most caring and reliable people that I’ve ever met, and they enjoy what they do for work thoroughly which is always so inspiring. They treat me as their own family members and share things about their lives with me. Two days ago, a staff member had a housewarming since he just bought his house near Fields Corner (one of the affordable houses by Viet-AID) and he invited me over even though we only have a few interactions before. Of course, I didn’t decline the offer and I was treated with many delicious plates of Hue cuisine (Vietnamese central food). Two weeks ago, another co-worker invited me to his pig roast barbecue where I met many of the young professionals who are just as friendly as my co-worker friend. This weekend, another co-worker will take me to my first-ever Vietnamese traditional music lesson (cải lương) when I told him I’m always interested in learning how to sing the music professionally. All of the staff members already talk about me coming back to help with them next summer.

The people in Boston are amazing as well. Whenever I’m lost and don’t know my way around, I can just stop and ask somebody on the street and they would pleasantly stop and explain to me where to go. The young people whom I have talked to are very welcoming and helpful when they know that my friends and I are out of town. They would let us know what are the favorite local spots for food, concerts, sightseeing, and we have been able to get into two musuems when they have free admission! The public transportation system makes me very happy since it is very easy to manipulate; thus, people choose to walk or bike or ride the T instead of burning more energy by driving cars.