Trending Topics

My Home Story: A Native American Finds Help

June 17, 2015 | By

June is American Housing Month, and to celebrate we’re featuring your stories on buying or refinancing your home. If you’d like to participate, tweet us a short story and a photo of your home by using the #TheHomeStoryAHM hashtag.

A divorce can be trying on the emotions and on the finances, as Shelly Tucciarelli found out the hard way.

By 2006, the housing and finance consultant had divorced her husband and moved from their home in Indiana to Chicago, where she worked for the Illinois Housing Development Authority. Starting life anew, Tucciarelli wanted to be a homeowner, but the state of her finances complicated matters.

“At that point I didn’t think I was going to find financing because of what I was going through,” said Tucciarelli, 49.

At the time, and unbeknownst to her, there was a program offered by HUD that was available to Native Americans: the Section 184 Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program.

Tucciarelli, a member of the Oneida Tribe of the Indians of Wisconsin, certainly qualified and had the necessary documentation to prove it.

The Section 184 program offers Native Americans like Tucciarelli several advantages when owning a home. There is a low down payment of 2.25 percent on loans over $50,000 (and 1.25 percent for those loans under $50,000). The low interest rates are based on market rates and not on the applicant’s credit score — good news for Tucciarelli, whose credit rating took a hit from the divorce and subsequent bankruptcy.

She had to wait a year to reestablish a credit score before applying for the Section 184 program. She found a one-bedroom condo at the Marina Towers, two circular buildings that are situated in the north bank of the Chicago River. By 2008 she was able to buy that condo with the help of the Section 184 program.

“It’s been great to stabilize myself after the divorce,” says Tucciarelli. “It’s been great having the stability in owning a home,” she adds.

Today Tucciarelli has her own company, Turtle Clan Development, which works with tribal members to help them find affordable housing and focuses on economic development in Indian country.

“There is such a great need for affordable housing in Indian country,” she says.

“Not a lot of tribal members are aware that the [Section 184 program] is available,” says Tucciarelli. “We’ve been working with the tribes to let them know what funds and programs are out there in order for them to become new homeowners,” she says.

“That is key.”

comments

COMMENTING POLICY

 

We appreciate and encourage lively discussions on our websites’ content. While we value openness and diverse points of view, all comments should be appropriate for people of all ages and backgrounds. We do not tolerate and will remove any comment that does not meet standards of decency and respect, including, but not limited to, posts that:

  • are indecent, hateful, obscene, defamatory, vulgar, threatening, libelous, profane, harassing, abusive, or otherwise inappropriate
  • contain terms that are offensive to any group based on gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, or sexual orientation
  • promote or endorse a product, service, or vendor
  • are excessively repetitive, constitute “SPAM” or solicitation, or otherwise prevent a constructive dialogue for others
  • are factually erroneous or misleading
  • threaten the privacy rights of another person
  • infringe on intellectual property and proprietary rights of another, or the publication of which would violate the same
  • violate any laws or regulations

We reserve complete discretion to block or remove comments, or disable access privilege to users who do not comply with this policy. The fact that a comment is left on our website does not indicate Fannie Mae’s endorsement or support for the content of the comment.

Fannie Mae does not commit to reviewing all information and materials submitted by users of the website for consideration or publication by Fannie Mae (“User Generated Contents”). Personal information contained in User Generated Contents is subject to Fannie Mae’s Privacy Statement available here. Fannie Mae shall have otherwise no liability or obligation with respect to User Generated Contents and may freely copy, adapt, distribute, publish, or otherwise use User Generated Contents without any duty to account.

A Window Into Housing In America

Subscribe to our newsletter for each week's top stories. Enter your email address below to stay in the know.

Accessibility