June 21, 2016 — For National Homeownership Month, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is honoring families who “Beat the Odds” by purchasing a home with the assistance of a HUD-approved Housing Counseling Agency. The five families, which included CEI homebuyer education/pre-purchase clients Shaun and Nicole Avery, were chosen to tell their stories at a “Dare to Own the Dream” Homeownership Month ceremony at the White House on June 21 with HUD Secretary Julián Castro. They attended the event with their CEI housing counselor, Linda Lajoie, and CEI’s board Chair Ellen Seidman.
Shaun is an active member of the military, and now a 23-year-old first-time homeowner in a rural Maine community identified as an “area of greatest need” by Neighborworks America. Shaun and Nicole participated in homebuyer education and pre-purchase counseling programs, and qualified for both a VA Guarantee loan and Maine Housing loan with down-payment assistance. CEI’s Linda Lajoie, who lost her son after he served in Afghanistan, is passionate about helping military families achieve their dreams. “Shaun and Nicole have worked so hard to become homeowners,” said Linda. “I’m so thrilled that they are receiving this recognition.”