Nonprofit helps Pasco couple get in first home

PASCO — Maria Larios and Ignacio Almanzar will clasp the keys to their first home in their hands today.

The couple, who work for Broetje Orchards in Prescott, are moving into their new Pasco home thanks to help from First Story, an affordable housing program.

The Bend, Ore., nonprofit builds homes and finds low-income families to own them, said Shon Rae, First Story's executive director.

The nonprofit gives the families a 30-year, no interest loan and doesn't require a down payment, she said. That means Almanzar and Larios will pay about $550 per month for their $156,000 home.

A down payment can make purchasing a home impossible for some families, Rae said. And once interest is added, which could double the monthly payment, some families simply can't afford a home.

First Story was called Hayden Giving Fund before March, when the nonprofit changed its name to reflect the organization's public nonprofit status.

Hayden Homes created the nonprofit in 1998 as a way to help needy families obtain affordable housing. Rae said the company remains the nonprofit's largest donor.

"Our goal really is to provide housing for families," she said. "It's the American dream."

The Almanzar home is the fourth such home First Story has built in the Tri-Cities and the 31st home total, Rae said. The nonprofit has dedicated homes in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

Of the families the nonprofit considered, Rae said Almanzar and Larios were the most ready to be homeowners.

Rae said CASA, an affiliate of Broetje Orchards, and Broetje helped First Family find families from among Broetje Orchard workers and gave them a good deal on the land in Tierra Vida, which means 'land and life'.

CASA is building the east Pasco subdivision as a community that helps residents grow in leadership and service.

Larios, 47, said in Spanish that she really can't describe the feeling she had when she and Almanzar, 48, found out they soon would become homeowners for the first time.

"You finally see a dream come true," she said.

Larios said they have lived in Vista Hermosa, or "Beautiful View," for about 17 years. They rent a four-bedroom home, with one bathroom, in the community of rentals in Prescott built for Broetje workers.

Almanzar said in Spanish that the family immigrated here in 1989 from Jalisco, a state in Mexico. They wanted their children to have the chance to have a better life, Larios said. And they wanted their children to get a chance to go to college.

Buying their own home without help was going to be too difficult, she said.

The couple doesn't have the savings to pay for a home because they have been supporting their children through school.

Manuel, 26, is a paramedic, and sons Eric, 20, and Julio, 21, are attending college. The couple also has a daughter, Alyah, 6.

Their hard work finally has paid off, Larios said.

On Saturday, Almanzar said he will be renting a large moving truck to move the family from their rented home in Prescott to their new home in Pasco.

Larios said she is looking forward to having a bathroom to herself in the new two-bedroom, two-bathroom home.

"She already said which one is her bathroom," Almanzar said.

Larios and Almanzar said they are grateful for the people who have made it possible for them to become homeowners.

And many of them will be easy to remember: The names of many of them are inscribed in bricks that border the driveway leading to the family's new two-car garage.

Kristi Pihl: 509-582-1512; kpihl@tricityherald.com