Fourteen years from struggling with food to first time home owner

Community Action House provides financial empowerment and homebuyer education services to over 150 families every year. In our first meeting with any client, we explain the various services offered. Housing Counselor Ana Pena recently met with a couple in the process of purchasing  their first home. To her surprise, the wife was already familiar with all we do. As it turns out, she had moved to Holland from Saginaw in 2005 to be close to her son, and had struggled to find a steady job. Only able to find work part time, she found herself in a vulnerable position, barely able to make ends meet. Fourteen years ago, she heard about Community Action House, and was able to find help in the food pantry while slowly building a stable life here.

Fast forward to 2019. Having been in her job for eleven years, she came to us to attend a homebuyer education class, which has helped her complete her first home purchase! Matched with down payment assistance, she is now a proud first time homeowner. In addition to the pride of achieving a significant milestone, she also has the stability that comes with home ownership. Over time, she’ll build up a considerable asset, providing more financial stability and autonomy for herself and her family.

She tells her friends that "there is hope, we need to accept help and move forward." She’s made incredible progress over the years, and we’re proud that we were there for her in her darkest hour, and to have been there recently to celebrate a key milestone with her as she completed her first home purchase!

CAH’s next Homebuyer Education Workshop will be held on Thursday, August 8, 2019, and is offered at no cost to Allegan and Ottawa County Residents. Find a full calendar, contact, and more on our website at

Contributor to this article: Ana Pena, CAH Housing Counselor