Pauline Tiako, a former resident of New Carrolton (a few minutes from DC) was in search of a place she could call home. Wanting to get away from the busy streets and cold neighbors, she explored areas that were safe and convenient for her family.
During her search, she received a flier for Dundalk Renaissance Corporation’s September 2014 Dundalk Housing Fair and Neighborhood Tours. Pauline attended the housing fair and gathered information she felt was useful but had reservations about qualifying for a mortgage. Tyler Banks, a vendor at the fair and CEO of Charm City Builders, had some encouraging words, “You’d be surprised. You never know till you try.”
Motivated by the tour, Pauline attended every DRC housing event to date, including the September and April Fairs (now annually held in April) and the two Neighborhood Close Ups that took place last spring. She was able to secure DRC’s $5,000 Golden Key Grant, $10,000 Historic Dundalk Grant, and the $5,000 Market Boost, as well as other grants her lender identified. She qualified for the Maryland Mortgage Program, You’ve Earned It, a veteran and student mortgage program and Home for Keys, for State employees who live near their work. “One flier led me to this great place and a lot of grant opportunities I never would’ve discovered.”
$32,000 and a house later, Pauline and her family sit comfortably at her home in Old Dundalk, a renovation by Charm City Builders! “This house has quality product that you would see downtown, yet I’m paying a fraction of the cost here. Where I came from, housing was smaller and expensive. The main reasons why I chose to live in Dundalk was its family–friendly nature and proximity to my work. (Pauline works for the State MDTA as administrative assistant and is currently getting her Master’s in Business Administration.)
When asked what she was most surprised about Dundalk she said, “Everything is nearby. I can take my kids to Kids First Swim School and American Kenpo Karate, where they are taught karate lessons, self-discipline and self-esteem,” (which Pauline feels is a phenomenal skill for children today). “No cars, calm streets, shopping around the corner, and I can go bike riding at all the nearby parks. I can’t wait to try Poplar Inn!”
Pauline has become a socialite and has already met many neighbors whom she describes as friendly and diverse. “Neighbors always greet me here with a ‘good morning’ while getting their newspapers. There are people from Ghana, Egypt, North Carolina, and now Kenya!” Her daughter shared, “I love everything about this house, I have a nice big room and a community where I have a lot of places to go to with friends inside and outside of school.”
In Pauline’s closing thoughts she wanted to leave readers with this:
“I was able to secure a mortgage, where just last September I said I could never afford to do, but here I am! DRC opened my eyes and shared with Dundalk with me. For that I am forever grateful.”