Shayla Givens Buys Her First Home in the Orangedale Neighborhood of Charlottesville
Shayla is no stranger to the benefits of being a homeowner as she works as the Intake and Pathways Fund Coordinator at the Haven, helping those who are homeless or approaching homelessness get the help they need to get back on their feet. She also works closely with one of our partners, Ridge Schuyler of Charlottesville Works Initiative and his Self Sufficiency Programs. Owning a home provides a solid foundation upon which people can thrive.
Growing up in a single-parent household, Shayla says she and her brother were raised by their mom while living in public housing. Shayla has always lived in rental homes as an adult. She began thinking about trying to become a homeowner herself as she watched rents steadily increase over time in Charlottesville.
Shayla says, “While working at Habitat for Humanity, I learned about Piedmont Housing Alliance and I saw people just like me going through the homeownership process and I realized it could be attainable.” Shayla took the first steps towards buying a home. She enrolled in a first-time homebuyer class through Piedmont Housing Alliance and started working on a savings goal for a down payment. She also started looking at homes on Zillow, and while she found several she liked, most of them seemed out of her price range. Shayla tried not to get discouraged; instead she continued to focus on paying down debt and increasing her credit score. Shayla said the housing counselors at Piedmont Housing Alliance walked her through each step to make the whole process much less daunting.
Soon after that, Shayla started back on her house hunt and found a home in the Orangedale neighborhood that she really liked. It was the first house she found and, within a few weeks after qualifying for VHDA’s 2% grant program to help make her home affordable, she became a homeowner!
Shayla adds, “Piedmont Housing Alliance is a great resource for the community and I think it is underutilized. A lot of people come to the Haven complaining about rent prices being too high and not being able to afford them, and I try to point people in the direction of homeownership. That’s when I tell them to visit Piedmont Housing Alliance.”
Shayla encourages anyone interested in becoming a homeowner to start looking since you never know when you are going to find your dream house. She adds, “Sales are always negotiable and putting a down payment on a home doesn’t really cost as much as you might think!”