Making people’s dreams of home ownership a reality

Randy with her family happily posing in front of their new forever home at 282 Broad St. in Newark’s Lower Broadway district.

(August 31, 2021) Randy was born and raised in Newark, NJ. She went to Lafayette Street School and East Side High School in the Ironbound and is a first generation college graduate from Kean University. Like so many others, Randy has been working hard to provide for her three children, younger brother, and mother but was never able to secure a permanent home for her family due to rising prices and stagnant wages. Even though she’s lived in Newark for 32 years, she was never been able to own a home here and neither has her family, despite having three combined incomes at times. “I always dreamed of buying my own house for my three children”, she said, “but never believed it was financially possible for my situation.”

Then La Casa de Don Pedro stepped in.

“I came across the newly constructed 282 Broad Street property and saw a big sign from La Casa advertising home ownership for low-income families. I saw the sign and decided to “wing it”. I made the call just to inquire about the price of the home and to see if it was still for sale and after that phone call with Dante [La Casa’s HUD Certified Housing Counselor,] my application process began”, Randy recalls.

And the high costs of real estate isn’t the only barrier people encounter when trying to purchase property. Randy also told us that she even tried to purchase a home with her mother at one point but was so intimidated by the mortgage process that she never really went through with it. Unfortunately, public education, and even some colleges don’t generally prepare or educate people about the home buying process or the importance of owning real estate in America. This is another obstacle that La Casa’s First Time Homebuyer courses set out to overcome.

With highly-trained and experienced housing counselors like Dante Lara at the helm, a network of housing resources from the likes of eHome America and NeighborWorks America, as well as a support system of professional realtors, mortgage brokers, and attorneys, La Casa de Don Pedro is a valued resource to people like Randy.

“Dante Lara was my first point of contact and he has been a great pleasure and a delight to work with. He walked me through all the steps towards home ownership and guided me through the mortgage process which was tedious and lengthy. Dante made everything super easy to understand and navigate. He was always available to answer any questions or concerns I had about the process. He has a very humble and upbeat personality and I am grateful for all of his assistance. Louis Prezeau was also there for me and my family through the home ownership process and, thanks to his diligence, I was able to get my first house through La Casa de Don Pedro’s First Time Homebuyer Program. I give so much gratitude to both of these gentlemen.”

By helping Randy achieve her First Time Homebuyer Education certification as well as walking her through our Landlord course, we provided  with all the tools necessary to purchase her first home. The home also is equipped with a  rental unit as an opportunity to earn additional income and generational wealth. But La Casa’s impact on home ownership is felt in other ways too. We not only support people like Randy become homeowners, we also built the home that Randy purchased in partnership with the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ Neighborhood Enhancement Program. The home features an owner’s unit with 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, granite countertops, hardwood floors, ceramic tile kitchens and baths, stainless steel appliances, washer and dryer units, Central A/C, and is Energy Star Certified. Typically, homes such as these would cost upwards of $400,000, however, with the help of NJDCA’s subsidies, the houses are sold for just $165,000,. La Casa’s first time homebuyer program presents the opportunity for moderate income families to own their own home. This in turn helps families create generational wealth, have a deeper investment in their own community, and create a stable foundation for themselves and their family for years to come.

“I would 100% recommend La Casa de Don Pedro to others in need because I know that they are genuinely out to help anyone and everyone in the community. They have so many programs that I wish I had known about sooner. Their programs help people going through different situations and all walks of life. I am indebted to La Casa de Don Pedro and can’t thank the staff enough for all of their efforts in making my home buying experience an amazing one. It definitely wasn’t easy or quick but it was worth the process and wait because now my kids have a place to call their own”, Randy added.
La Casa de Don Pedro has built and sold over 164 affordable homes to low and moderate income families over the past 25 years.  Still, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, 53% of Newark homes are owned by outside investors, 60% of all renters are rent-burdened, and 57% of homeowners are mortgage-burdened. There is plenty of work to be done!

For more information on La Casa’s First Time Homebuyer Education Program, contact Dante Lara at 973-485-0701 or email us at

Randy at her closing is all smiles after receiving the keys to her new home!

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