An elderly couple is moving into the first home they’ve ever owned on Tallahassee’s south side. Even without furniture, the modest house is a Christmas dream come true.
Curtis Taylor is vice president of housing at the Tallahassee Urban League. He met Corine and Sherman Brown more than a year ago when they joined the League’s first-time homebuyers program. He said they had a lot to do to get ready.
"Because they had been victims of identity theft. And with them being senior citizens, they didn't know that somebody had compromised their credit,” Taylor said, shaking his head. “They didn't know that. They really hadn't even looked at their credit report."
First the Urban League helped the Beards identify the fraudulent charges and clean up their credit enough to qualify for a home loan. Then Taylor found out that the Wells Fargo Bank donates houses to non-profit agencies to repair and sell.
"Praise the Lord, thank the Lord, we was able to do it," he said. 'Cause I'm telling you, Mrs. Beard was in my office several times, crying and saying that she knew she was never going to own her own home, that every time they get close something happens. Mr. Beard said, 'Mr. Taylor, I just want to own a home before I leave this earth."
Taylor also credited Triple-A Realty, Regions Bank, the City of Tallahassee, Blue Chip Construction and the Tallahassee Lenders Consortium. There’s just one snag.
"The apartments that they're living in now really - I won't say 'should be shut down'- but it's a problem because all of the tenants there are having water problems, mold and mildew," Taylor explained.
So the Beards are moving into their new home without furniture. But someone already dropped off a rocking chair and a couch is on the way. If anyone else has a furnishing or two to contribute, they can call Curtis Taylor at the Tallahassee Urban League.