Rishona Millard-Dernell

July 9, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Shoni with her children Ayotzinemi, Lila and Benito.

In the Corcoran neighborhood of Minneapolis, there is a home where two little girls are having supper at their child-size picnic table, while a little boy rides up and down the sidewalk on his bike. This is the home of Rishona Millard-Dernell (or “Shoni” as she likes to be called) and her three children, Ayotzinemi, Lila and Benny. The joy their new CLCLT home brings to this family is immediately obvious.

Shoni is a native of the area having grown up in the Powerderhorn Park neighborhood and was always confident that she wanted to settle in the area as an adult. However, homeownership was not something she had considered until after having children. “I moved 10 times in the past 5 years. It was an exciting idea to have a stable place for my kids to grow up.” Shoni knew of the CLCLT but she was not considering this path to homeownership until a friend in a similar situation was able to buy a home with an affordability grant from CLCLT. Shoni remembers thinking “Wow! This is possible.” After attending an orientation, Shoni began working with a CLCLT partner lender in order to develop a plan that would result in homeownership. After two years her efforts were rewarded, when Shoni closed on her home in March of this year.

Shoni credits the knowledge of the CLCLT staff as well as their constant support in helping her to pursue her goal of homeownership. “We were…a team.”, which was both comforting as well as empowering. Soni now finds herself considering her place in the community and says that owning a home in the neighborhood makes her feel that much more invested in the community’s future. “There is a big shift in perspective from having stable housing. Moving around so much takes a lot of energy. Having somewhere stable allows you to think about bigger goals.”

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