Akirah Pressley’s three decades of life have been marked by instability. When she was 13, her mother died.
A few years later, she was forced to leave home. She graduated from high school with a baby. She has moved more than 20 times. “I was almost homeless,” she said.
“Yeah, I was a teen mom. They want you to look at these things like a negative, but life is what you make it.” Last August, she was able to buy a rowhouse in Northeast Philadelphia. She has a front lawn and autonomy and stability.
“Having my own home, I love it,” she said. “This was always a dream of mine to buy a home.”
Like many first-time home buyers, especially those with low incomes that make saving difficult, Pressley faced a barrier she couldn’t overcome on her own: the immediate up-front purchase costs. So she cobbled together buyer assistance grants: $2,000 from the Philadelphia Housing Authority through its PhillySEEDS closing cost assistance program, $5,000 from the First Front Door program through her lender, $4,000 from a United Way match program.