Patryce is a thirty-something mother of four, who closed August 7th, 2015 on the purchase of her new home. At first, she says, she didn’t get it. “It seemed surreal. It wasn’t until Sam [rehab specialist with ACTS Housing] handed me the keys and said, ‘This is your house, I want you to say it, say ‘This is my house!’” That moment was the culmination of a year of tirelessly looking at houses, negotiating with sellers, finally striking a deal, arranging financing, and closing. Now she gets it. Patryce brims with pride as she describes the process of transitioning from a renter to a homeowner: “It seems overwhelming and it seems stressful . . . It’s hard, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not impossible.” Her new home is just blocks from her former rental, close to her mother, and to her children’s friends. “I feel proud, I feel accomplished, I feel strong, I feel a lot of different things at one time. I think I feel like I did when I graduated. This is mine and nobody can come take this. I did this.”
The hard work doesn’t stop with the purchase—Patryce and her family must now restore the property to livable condition. Patryce and her contractors will sand and polish natural wood floors, grout existing tile floors, update windows, bathrooms and the kitchen, patch and paint ceilings and walls, and pave the long driveway leading to her garage. With continued support from the ACTS team, she hopes to complete the basic work and move her family in by Halloween. She doesn’t want to spend another winter paying rent and costly heating bills, and looks forward to substantial savings in her monthly living expenses.
While the process has been a challenge, Patryce feels supported by the team and believes the challenge is an important one: “You don’t know how strong you are until you push your limits, and this is a worthwhile reason to push your limits.” For Patryce, the home means “a new life for us . . . because it’s possible. I can show the kids, these are things you’re supposed to do in life: go to school, go to college, go to work, buy a house. It’s a new opportunity in life, a basis for us to grow.”
More than just working to improve the lives of her own family members, Patryce sees her investment as a benefit to the whole community, and encourages her neighbors to do the same: “If this is your neighborhood, where you’re from, go ahead and buy a piece of property. Invest in that area – care about the neighborhood, care about the grass and what trash is on the floor. Make sure it’s loved.” According to Patryce, ACTS “wants to make sure this is a success story . . . that it really happens.” Patryce Pruitt really gets it.
Photos and Video by Fred Croen