CDC of Tampa aims to maintain communities and keep neighborhoods intact through homeownership

Tampa couple avoids forclosure through CDC program

TAMPA - Lupe and Rafi Guzman consider their modest house in Tampa a dream.

"I love my home.  It's my first house that I ever had dreamed of," said Lupe.

They have lived in the east Tampa neighborhood just north of Interstate 4 for ten years.

"To have my home, our home here, represents the challenge, represents something positive for my community," explained Rafi.

But early this summer, down to one income, the couple began to fall behind on the mortgage.

"We even borrowed money to pay for the mortgage.  And all of a sudden, boom, it was like 'Oh, my God.'  What are we going to do," recalled Lupe.

So the couple turned to the Corporation to Develop Communities, or CDC of Tampa.  They are the same people that helped guide them through the process of first-time home buying a decade ago.

The CDC recently received a $25,000 grant from Bank of America. I t helps to support one of CDC's vital programs.

"That's why we started our foreclosure prevention services.  To make sure that homeowners can actually keep that dream of home ownership," remarked Ernest Coney, Jr. of CDC.
    
The CDC's mission, although challenging, is to maintain a community where home ownership flourishes, and neighborhoods are kept together.

"You actually have neighbors who know each other. You have kids who grow up together going to the same schools.  So that's why it's vital to keep home ownership in our neighborhoods," said Coney.

The CDC tries to help as many people as qualify.  They also run youth programs and career counseling.

For Lupe and Rafi, reworking their finances through a CDC counselor has allowed them to keep their home. And their sense of humor.

"Now we're happy.  We were so stressed, we weren't even looking at each other, said Lupe as she laughed standing at the kitchen sink.

Rafi walked over, leaned close and hugged his wife.

The CDC is located at 1907 E. Hillsborough Ave. in Tampa.  They can be reached at (813) 231-4362, or www.cdcoftampa.org .

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