Dreams Do Come True
We first met Jon in March of 1992 when he expressed to the Home of My Own Committee his strong desire to become a homeowner. He didn’t want to “throw his money away on rent.”
After looking at 19 homes, Jon purchased a 2 bedroom, 1 bath home with a basement. Jon feels safe in his house and likes his quiet community and his friendly neighbors. He is good friends with his neighbors Judy and Don and their dog, Lady. They have been his neighbors since he moved in. He states “they help each other.” He is very independent, walking most places, taking the bus or riding his bike. He has a career as a janitor and has worked for Pioneer Resources for 17 years, currently on the second shift.
His Community Living Support staff currently provided by The ARC Muskegon had just left before we stopped by. They support his goals around cleaning, budgeting, and shopping. Jon was proud to give us a tour of his home and show off his accomplishments as a homeowner. Jon was busy overseeing and helping with contracted improvements. He and his staff hired a local contractor to do some remodeling. He replaced the wall between the dining room and the kitchen, repaired the kitchen ceiling, removed the carpet in his second bedroom to expose the hardwood floors, and replaced the bathtub in his bathroom. In past years, he has completed other improvements due to a basement flood, as well as replacing the furnace, water heater, washer, and dryer.
With our home tour complete, we headed to lunch at US 31 BBQ, one of Jon’s favorite places. Jon shared that he enjoys visiting his friends, bowling, and spoiling his nieces. While we were enjoying our great pork BBQ, I asked Jon if he’d refinanced his home. He replied, “No, I paid it off 3 years ago!” We were shocked. Jon had accomplished something many homeowners dream of doing. Jon paid off his 30 year mortgage in 18 years. By saving money and using the proceeds from his mother's estate after she passed away, his home was paid off. He now had $400 a month he could do other things with.
When we first wrote about Jon, he was described as self-reliant, determined, and focused. He paid his bills in cash on time, and he didn’t have a credit card. None of that has changed other than he has a credit card, “but only for emergencies.” When asked what advice he would suggest to other individuals looking to buy their own home, he said “find Barb” - referring to Barb DeLello, his realtor who helped Jon look at and eventually buy his home. There were many supporters of Jon and his home: his mother Peg, his sister Mary, his brother Tom, his support staff, and the MOKA organized committee, which implemented the Home of My Own grant. Jon is so proud of the accomplishments he personally has achieved, just living in his own home. He should be; he’s accomplished the American Dream.