Program Spotlight: Pathway to Homeownership

December 21, 2020 11:43 am

Program Spotlight | Pathway to Homeownership | December 2020

Asbury Park resident Carritta Cook, 32, has dreamt of becoming a homeowner ever since her 6-year-old son Jeremiah was born.

“I want a ‘forever home,’ somewhere he can grow up,” she said. “I want him to have the stability of knowing he will always have a home to come to.”

Her dream is on its way to becoming a reality due to Interfaith Neighbor’s (IFN) Pathway to Home Ownership (Pathway) program, which offers an affordable three-bedroom, two bath rental, while she prepares for purchasing a home. A percentage of Cook’s monthly rent will be placed in escrow by IFN, to be used towards her down payment, IFN’s Director of Real Estate Development Patrick Durkin said.

Carritta Cook tours her new apartment in the Pathway to Homeownership house.

IFN recently completed construction of a new Pathway home on Borden Avenue. The home features two 3-bedroom apartments. Tenants generally occupy the home for a year to eighteen months to save for their downpayment, improve their credit, secure mortgage pre-approvals and find a suitable home for purchase.

Cook moved to Asbury Park from Union County after being ‘sold’ on the area and the local school district during visits to her godmother’s home. She is a single mother who is also fostering 18-year-old I’jhanae Silas, an Asbury Park High School senior, while balancing work at an oral surgeon’s office and the pursuit of a college degree.

Cook with her family in front of the new IFN Pathway to Homeownership home.

Prior to participation in the program, Cook lived in a costlier apartment complex that offered little privacy and less square footage. She was astounded by how much IFN’s program offers – a way to accumulate a down payment, affordable rent, and pleasant and safe living conditions.

“This is more than I envisioned,” said Silas, who dreams of becoming a pediatrician. “This is the first time I will have my very own room.”

Cook loves the Asbury Park community and has IFN’s Parkview AP in mind or similar two-family home to purchase with a friend. She expressed gratitude for the opportunity to create a forever home for her son and Silas through the Pathway to Home Ownership program.

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