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Rodriguez Family Achieves the Dream of Homeownership

Published: 9/18/2023

Javier Rodriguez and his wife Martha have been dreaming of owning their own home for many years, and now, thanks to the City's new First-Time Homebuyer Assistance Program, the couple and their three children – along with an eager new puppy – are living that dream.   

The two-bedroom, one-bathroom Rodriguez household in the Zaferia District is always a hive of activity: Javier, who works as an irrigation technician, just painted the front fence of his new home and is thinking about future additions and remodels. Martha, a production clerk for a personal care company, stays busy taking care of the three Rodriguez children, Leslie, Michael and Breana, as well as the family’s new dog.  

“I definitely feel free and comfortable in our new neighborhood,” said Leslie, 19. Her sentiments aligned with those of her 12-year-old sister Breana, who said she loves the feeling of being able to do whatever she wants in her new surroundings. 

As the sisters spoke, their brother Michael was in class at Long Beach City College, pursuing a degree in Computer Engineering.    

Facilitated by the Development Services Department and funded by the Long Beach Recovery Act, the grant Program provides up to $20,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance to help low and moderate-income households – traditionally underrepresented in homeownership – with purchasing their first home. 

To qualify for the Program, applicants need to meet income limits and be both a first-time and first-generation homebuyer. Applicants also need to currently live in a federally designated Community Development Block Grant area of Long Beach.   

The Program grant can be combined with other federal, state and local homebuyer assistance programs to help make homeownership even more accessible.  

The Rodriguez family received a second mortgage loan from CalFHA, which was used toward their down payment. Other City grant recipients have similarly used other homeownership assistance programs in combination with the Program grant to be able to buy their first home. 

“It's wonderful,” said Martha from her cozy, family photo-filled new living room. “We wanted to do this 10 years ago when we owned a 98 Cent Store franchise, but at the time we didn't think we could make it.” 

 The Rodriguez family became the first grantee to secure down payment and closing cost assistance from the City, opening the door for them to commit to the purchase of their new home.   

“We’re incredibly excited to help the Rodriguez family get the keys to their first home,” said Development Project Manager Stephanie Harper. “It is so gratifying to know that the grant helped them become homeowners.” 

The family found out about the Program when they lived in North Long Beach, through an email sent from the Eighth District Council Office.  

When Javier and Martha followed up by attending an orientation meeting at the Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library, they met mortgage lender Irvin Lopez and Diana Ruan-McDonald, an independent realtor, who offered to help guide them through the application process.   

“The application process is a lot of work, but if people take the time to become informed and educated, they'll find out that it's very doable,” said Ruan-McDonald. 

The Rodriguez family submitted their grant application in March 2023 and was preliminarily approved before being officially awarded the grant just weeks later. Soon after, in May, the family received the keys to their new home. 

Grant funds remain available for the Program and qualified Long Beach homebuyers are encouraged to apply. To review all eligibility requirements, complete a pre-application self-screening form and more, visit longbeach.gov/lbhomegrant.   

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