In 2014 Michael Rengers, a 25-year-old store security manager, was eager to settle down, get married and find a place to call home in Central Ohio. In October he became engaged and in December, he purchased his first home from Homeport.
But Rengers did not purchase just any home. He benefitted from a special Chase Bank program that donates foreclosed properties to cities, land banks, and non-profits who renovate and sell them to moderate-income families.
Since 2013, Homeport has received five donations from Chase, including a 3-bedroom, 1.5-bath home in Blendon Township that it rehabilitated and sold to a very pleased Rengers.
"We couldn’t be happier with Homeport,” Rengers said. “It’s nice to come home at night and know the place is yours.”
Given the pain of foreclosure that millions of Americans faced during The Great Recession, stories of new happy home buyers like Rengers are a source of pride for Chase.
Ronald Branch, Houston-based program manager for Chase’s Community Revitalization Program, said 3,000 foreclosed homes have been donated by Chase since December 2008, including 268 in Ohio.
“Our mission is to make a difference in the communities we operate in, to provide opportunities for home ownership to individuals earning at or below 120 percent of the area median income (AMI),” Branch said.
For 2014, 120 percent of the AMI for a Central Ohio family ranged from $58,800 for a family of one to $84,000 for a family of four.
“The Chase Community Revitalization Program has been a great benefit to Homeport by allowing us to acquire homes in neighborhoods throughout Central Ohio where we can, at lowered development costs, provide more affordable home ownership opportunities.” said Leah Evans, Homeport’s Director of Home Ownership.
Besides Rengers’ home, Homeport has rehabbed and sold a Chase donated home in Madison Township and plans to start work on a third Chase property this spring in Whitehall. Construction timelines have not been established on the two other properties in the historic King-Lincoln District.
For Rengers, the eighth-month period from prospect to owner was “a fun ride.”
During the time period he took a free homebuyer education course offered by Homeport that boosted his confidence to purchase a home.
Rengers learned, “You don’t have to buy the biggest house. You buy a house you can afford.”
He also got to watch the transformation of his future home that was originally built in 1967. Homeport repaired, replaced or upgraded air and heating systems, kitchen countertops, appliances, floors, walls, the house roof and a garage door.
Brooke Gillis, Rengers’ fiancée, 24, and a master’s degree student at Ohio State University, said the process “is a constant reminder that with hard work, determination and opportunity, great things can happen. Being homeowners at such a young age was a dream and Homeport made our dream a reality.”