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Tampa Resident Realizes Homeownership Dream After 16 Years

The City of Tampa's housing community is coming together Friday to celebrate the years-long journey of one Tampa couple toward homeownership. Jacqueline and Patrick Knox have worked for sixteen years to realize their dream of owning a home, faced with rising interest rates, housing prices and tough competition.

With the help of the City of Tampa's partner, Housing and Education Alliance (HEA), the Knoxs attended first-time homebuyer education classes and received pre-purchase counseling with HEA Counselor, Ria Straker-Gumbs. With the financial assistance from the City's DARE to Own the Dream Program, which helps qualifying homebuyers with downpayment and closing cost assistance, and funds from the East Tampa CRA, the Knox family was able to purchase a new construction home in East Tampa.

Ironically, Jacqueline was present at the groundbreaking for the home of her housing counselor, Ria Straker-Gumbs, eighteen years ago. Ms. Gumbs was a recipient of a home with the help of HEA before she was hired on as a counselor.

Available for interviews Friday will be Jacqueline Knox, HEA Counselor Ria Straker-Gumbs, and the City of Tampa's Housing and Community Development Director, Kayon Henderson.

The 2006 groundbreaking for Ria Gumbs shows Jacqueline Knox on the far left, 18 years before she would realize her dream of homeownership.

The 2006 groundbreaking for Ria Gumbs shows Jacqueline Knox on the far left, 18 years before she would realize her dream of homeownership.