Helping a Dream Come True
Over her sofa is a small cross that reads, “With God all things are possible.” Voria Burns is a living example of what can happen when organizations team up and individuals work hard. Voria is a proud first-time home owner at age 59. She always dreamed of herself in her own home and with diligence, drive and the Phoenix Project’s HomeChoice Program, Voria Burns is living her dream.
As a Good Samaritan benefits program, HomeChoice offers employees financial incentives to purchase a house or improve a house they already own in the hospital neighborhood. The program offers up to $5,000 in closing costs and home-improvement assistance to qualified employees. The employee must live in the home for five years and pay taxes on the benefit dollars.
Voria, a telephone operator at Good Samaritan, learned of the program through the hospital. “At one time, I worked three part-time jobs to build the savings for a down payment. I knew I wanted to purchase my first home through this project.”
She graduated from the mandatory home-buyers class. “Those classes were great, very educational.” She worked with CityWide Development and Fifth Third Bank and was approved for the loan. Her monthly rent on a one-bedroom apartment a few blocks south of her home was $285. Her mortgage payment on her three-bedroom home with a two-car garage is $245 (plus taxes and insurance). “I always pictured myself in my own home and was discouraged because I just couldn’t afford it. The Phoenix Project was the fulfillment of a dream.”
Sister Carol Bauer, vice president of mission effectiveness at Good Samaritan, has been a leader in the Phoenix Project. “It has been wonderful to see Voria accomplish her dream. She is a wonderful example of the important difference neighbors are making because of their belief and pride in their neighborhood.” With that dream fulfilled, Voria knows Good Samaritan not only practices the sacred work of medicine but takes that work beyond the hospital walls.
Voria walks to work these days. “I was born at Good Samaritan and raised in Dayton and I love owning so close to the hospital. It’s a great neighborhood and I feel safe. Policing has increased and people are taking pride in their homes.”
Voria volunteers for neighborhood clean-up days and attends the summer picnics. “It’s an incredible feeling to own my own home. Phoenix Project and Good Samaritan Hospital gave me the hope and made my dream come true.”