Anthony Stevens has always lived in Washington, D.C., and when the time came for him to buy a home, that's where he wanted to live. He was concerned that the increasingly high cost of housing in D.C. would be a challenge, but he was determined.
Anthony's realtor told him about the LIFT program, a collaboration between Wells Fargo and NeighborWorks America that provides down payment assistance to qualified homebuyers. Anthony didn't have an appointment for the program's launch event, so he arrived at 10:00 the night before and stayed all night to make sure he would be able to participate as a walk-in customer. He wasn't the only one. "There were four other people in front of me, so I guess I wasn't as early as I thought I was," he jokes. The next day, with all his documents in order, he sailed through the process and was approved for $20,000 in LIFT funds.
His job as director of volunteer engagement in the mayor's office qualified him for an additional $2,500 that the program provides to employees of the District of Columbia. Since Anthony also serves as a seasonal firefighter working with the federal government to fight wildfires, he was eligible for the LIFT program's First Responder, Military and Teacher Benefit of $2,500, for a total of $25,000. These funds, combined with assistance from other sources, ensured that he could afford to buy in his beloved home town of D.C.
He purchased a house in the historic Congress Heights neighborhood, where he now lives with his fiancée, Vonnie, and their infant daughter, Ava. The house has four bedrooms, four baths, a two-car garage and a beautiful backyard. To Anthony, it means a lot to be able to provide this home for his family. "I love sitting and watching Ava crawl around and having room to play, knowing she will have this place to grow up in," he says.
It's also important to him that he was able to beat the odds and purchase a home in D.C., rather than moving to the more affordable suburbs. "If you want anything badly enough, you can achieve it," says Anthony. "Never once did I get discouraged because I'm the only one in the house who's working, or I don't make six figures, because we got help. Where there's a will there's a way."
Vonnie can't wait for her family's first holiday season in their new home. "Ava was born just a couple of days after Thanksgiving last year, so this will be the first holiday season that she'll be aware of the celebrations," she explains. "I go overboard with the decorations. I just love the holidays, and I'm looking forward to spending many holiday seasons in our beautiful house."