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Staying Home: WCCUSD Teacher Becomes First-Time Home Buyer

Kennedy High School Digital Arts teacher Mitzi Perez and her partner Anthony Caro in front of the newly purchased home. Kennedy High School Digital Arts teacher Mitzi Perez thought it would be at least 10 years before she became a homeowner. Thanks to the Richmond Community Foundation and its partnership with local housing assistance programs and the District, Mitzi is moving into her own home on Tuesday.

A second-year teacher, Mitzi, and her partner Anthony Caro received the keys to a home in south Richmond near Nystrom Elementary that the couple purchased through the Richmond Community Foundation’s Housing Renovation program.

"This is a dream come true," Mitzi said. "It feels really great, and I am happy to stay in my local community and happy to stay near my local schools."

Mitzi and Caro both credited the CalHFA school employee program for helping them become homeowners. As a school district employee, Mitzi qualified for the CalHFA program that provides down payment and closing cost assistance. Anthony and Mitzi paired the down payment assistance with Richmond Community Foundation's program and a first-time home buying workshops by SparkPoint Contra Costa.

"I am really happy, and I know home ownership is a struggle, and it's hard, but I am here, and we made it," Mitzi said about the first net-zero energy house in Richmond. "I am looking forward to my students having this kind of opportunity one day."

The Richmond Community Foundation purchased and renovated eight blighted homes in the city of Richmond and sold the homes at neighborhood-market rate to participants that have completed SparkPoint’s first-time home buying program. The city of Richmond and the Richmond Community Foundation partnered to fund the program through social impact bonds that are backed by investors, including Mechanics Bank.

The house purchased by Mitzi and Anthony is Richmond’s first net-zero energy house, meaning that it was built with environmentally friendly materials and has solar panels that provide all the home’s energy needs.

"Take advantage of the Neighborhood Housing Services," Mitzi said. "And take advantage of the CalHFA because it does cover most of the down payment and closing costs. We didn’t have to put down a lot."

If you are a district employee, there are additional housing resources available on the District's website (you must be signed in to view the page).