Helen Humes proves that being a grandmother doesn’t mean you can’t also be a first home owner.
After living in public housing for nearly 36 years, Helen didn’t think that she would ever be able to achieve the ‘great Aussie dream’ of owning her own home. A promotion to Cultural Advisor at Djooraminda Centrecare meant that Helen became over-income for public housing and no longer eligible to continue to live in the property she was renting.
“It was a very stressful situation, as there were a number of family issues at the time and I didn’t think that I had enough money for a home loan,” Helen said.
“I really appreciated that a staff member from the Housing Pathways Unit (HPU) came to see me at work and talk through my options. She was great from the start and really treated me like a human being.”
After receiving a good tax return, Helen had enough money for a deposit and started the process of gaining a home loan.
“I was lucky that my cousin was building a new house and wanted to sell the house she was currently living in,” Helen said.
“I jumped at the chance to buy her house as it is only a few minutes drive from where I had been living and was the perfect size for me.
“We had the house valued and then started the home loan process.
“I secured a home loan through Indigenous Business Australia, an organisation that assists Aboriginal people with loans to purchase their own home.”
Helen received the keys to her new home in late 2013, and moved in before Christmas.
“I got to spend my first Christmas in my own home which was really exciting,” she said.
When asked how she felt when told that she had to move out of public housing, Helen said that it was a stressful and scary time.
“Becoming over-income gave me the incentive to follow my dream and own my own house. My cousin did it as well as other family members, and I knew I could do it too,” she said.
“I finally have the ‘Great Australian dream’!
“My son is so proud – he told me ‘you’ve done it mum’. It really is a great feeling.”
Tracy Copes, from the HPU, helped Helen with her transition out of public housing and presented her with a number of options.
“I discussed a number of options with Helen as an alternative to public housing,” Tracy said.
“She really persevered throughout the whole process to achieve her dream of homeownership.
“Helen was a lovely lady and a delight to work with and she was so excited about having her own home.”
Tracy said that she was always excited when people want to purchase their own home.
“It is a great joy to follow their journey as their dream becomes a reality,” she said.
“It can be a challenge changing people’s mindset and helping them to realise that they can actually own their own home.
“I’m so pleased for Helen and it is great to see her settled in her new home.”