Hearty laughter fills the house. It’s pizza night, and Allison Martin and her kids, Karnell and Allison, are discussing what movie to watch as they joke about each other’s video game skills.
The house is neat and orderly, warm and comfortable, and filled with photos, games, décor and belongings that signal a happy family. A home.
“This is the first house I’ve owned. We always rented before this,” says Allison. “And something would always happen. My landlord would get foreclosed. We were always moving. It was hard for the kids to make friends.”
An incentive to buy in Detroit
In 2013, Allison’s employer was offering a $20,000 down payment incentive for employees to buy homes in Detroit. After some research, Allison found Oakland Housing’s Woodbridge Estates development. The location – right by Wayne State University and the Cultural District – was perfect. The homes were new, with the ideal three-bedroom, three-bath layout for her family.
“I needed to learn about the home buying process, and Oakland Housing took me under their wing. They educated me, sent me to a seminar and connected me with a credit counselor,” says Allison. “It was a two-year process to repair my credit. Then after we got the house, Oakland Housing kept checking up with us.”
Allison remembers the time her water tank stopped working – a new experience for the first-time homeowner.
“Oakland Housing brought someone out to help me. And I learned in credit counseling to save some money for repairs and emergencies, so I was able to replace the water tank.”
The family loves the neighborhood. There’s a neighborhood association that has events and meetings. Neighbors are so friendly, one of them even clears the snow off the entire block’s sidewalk.
For the kids, the home means they have a place where they can have friends over. And they’ve been able to make a lot of friends.
“When we first moved here, I thought this was just another place to live, just like the others,” says Karnell. “Then after a while I realized, this is home. This is it.”
“No more moving,” says Allison. “This is where we are setting roots, to flourish.”