With four children from the ages of 16 to 22, Zoraida deJesus knew it was time to buy a home where they could bring their friends and enjoy a nice lawn.
Her Realtor told her about an interesting four-bedroom Cape on a cul de sac, but she rejected it before even seeing it. "It was one of the few homes in New Haven on a well and it had oil heat — and I didn't want either," recalls deJesus, a clinical referral specialist in PFAS. "But I went anyway and when I walked into the house, I knew this was the one!"
Fortunately for deJesus, she had qualified for the hospital's HOME — Home Ownership Made Easier — Program and was already involved with First Niagara Bank, YNHH's partner in the 7-year-old program for first-time homebuyers. In fact, with the purchase of her home, deJesus was the 100th employee to qualify for a loan through the HOME program.
Since 2006, HOME has enabled eligible full- and part-time employees to purchase a home in New Haven with up to $10,000 in forgivable five-year loans, as well as other incentives and homebuying support. Employees who purchase a home in one of four New Haven neighborhoods — the Hill, Dwight, West River and City Point — all close to either YNHH campus — would be eligible for a $200 a month mortgage subsidy for the first two years of their home ownership, for a total of up to $14,800.
The loans are interest-free and forgivable over the employee's five years of continued YNHH employment. Employees must remain in good standing and the home must be the employee's primary residence. If these conditions are not met, the employee repays the loan balance at the competitive rate specified by the mortgage.
"This is one of our most highly valued employee benefits," said Kevin Myatt, senior vice president, Human Resources. "We are providing our colleagues with that extra little lift they need to realize the American dream and have a lawn for their kids or a basement where they can play their drums."
DeJesus, who moved into her dream home in March, is a fan of the classes that New Haven Home Ownership — in association with the HOME Program — offers prospective homebuyers. The classes cover everything from how to insulate a home properly, to the importance of changing locks, to roofing and light plumbing.
"By the time I moved in, I felt I was ready to handle the responsibilities of home ownership," said deJesus. "You don't realize how important this stuff is — until you're a homeowner!"
"Our employees are our most valuable asset and New Haven is our community," said Myatt. "The HOME Program makes perfect sense because it allows us to invest in our employees and in our community."
For details and eligibility criteria for the HOME Program, employees should contact the Benefits Office at 688-2401 or visit the Human Resources intranet site.