Lori Rassi and her three children (pictured above) are finally home! The family spent their first night in their new house Wednesday (April 6). Lori, a DSP in ADEC’s Supported Living program, closed on the purchase of her new house earlier that day, realizing a dream she worked so hard to achieve. Lori shared her story at the LaCasa Annual Luncheon March 23. We’re reprinting here an article about her from the LaCasa, Inc. 2015-2016 Annual Report. Congratulations, Lori, and welcome home!
Story and photo reprinted with permission from LaCasa, Inc. 2015-2016 Annual Report
Lori Rassi is almost home. A long-time resident of the Chamberlain Neighborhood, she’s excited to officially put down roots in the neighborhood she loves. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that those roots will be in a brand new, energy efficient, LaCasa-built house. Or that she is combining her hard-earned savings with LaCasa Dream$avers match and HOME grant down payment assistant to start out with an over 20 percent equity position.
“It blows me away. It’s more than I would have ever imagined. I love that house. My kids are so stoked.”
When Lori first came to LaCasa, she was about ready to ditch the idea of home ownership. “I had just been denied a mortgage and owning a home was feeling impossible.” A friend of hers, who had made improvements to her home through LaCasa’s Dream$avers matched savings program, encouraged her to give LaCasa a chance to help before giving up.
“That’s how I met Lori,” LaCasa’s Chris Kingsley remembers. “It was a financial coaching appointment and she mentioned her frustrations with the dream of home ownership. I could see right away that there was a path to realizing her dream and that it didn’t have to be as long as she thought it was.”
Lori signed up for the Dream$avers Program, funded through the Federal Assets For Independence program, where her $1,600 in savings would be matched with $8,000 in match for her first time home purchase. She attended LaCasa’s Money For Life and Own Your Home Now classes. She participated in Financial Coaching. She worked on her credit.
“Our work with Lori embodies our mission of partnering to create opportunities,” comments Chris. “She is tenaciously committed to her success and when we worked together to identify exact steps that would eliminate barriers to her dream, those barriers never stood a chance!”
“This is for my kids,” Lori says. “You should have seen me seven or eight years ago. I was earning below the poverty level. I’ve come a long way.”
Lori is a long time employee at ADEC, where she works with adults with disabilities to support independent living. She is no stranger to mission-based work. She loves her job and is passionate about helping others.
“It’s amazing how things are coming together for me right now after a period where it seemed like everything was on hold.”
Lori recently joined the board of a local chapter of “For Every Woman a Chance.” The organization focuses on connecting women with the resources they need to succeed and moving more women into the STEM fields. “It’s an opportunity to impact others who may be dealing with challenges similar to the ones I have overcome.”
“Lori exemplifies the spirit of the asset building movement,” notes LaCasa President Larry Gautsche. “The idea is that you give someone an opportunity through asset ownership. That person then has ownership in and is motivated to care about their community. Successful asset ownership is a platform for contribution.”
LaCasa’s work with Lori and much of the actual savings match for her home were funded by donors from Elkhart County through IDA Tax Credit donations and general contributions. Incoming Board Chair Barb Hassan sees community ownership in this work as a key. “LaCasa is a community resource. It’s an expression of our community. We all play a part in this as we offer our various resources. The end result is changed lives, neighborhoods and communities.”