150th new homeowner served by ‘Proud Ground’

See how working with this ‘land trust’ organization helps turn renters into owners – of their own, proudly-owned homes …

Kelli Jarrell, Proud Ground homeowner in Mill Park, says she enjoys doing yard work at her new residence.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Families with low to moderate incomes, having good credit, steady jobs, and stable incomes, have turned to an organization called “Proud Ground” since 1999 to live the dream of home ownership.

  • To see our story about volunteers preparing a Parkrose home for a new family last year, CLICK HERE.
  • To read how Proud Ground helped a client tackle a massive yard renovation project, CLICK HERE.


This year, the folks at Proud Ground celebrated a milestone: Helping their 150th family move into a new home.

Not along ago, we spoke with that homeowner, Kelli Jarrell, an Intake Analyst for Aetna Insurance, as she worked sprucing up the front yard in her new Mill Park Neighborhood home.

“What’s special about being a homeowner,” Jarrell began, “is the feeling of security and independence it gives me to own a home. This home is mine! It just feels good – for me, the ‘American dream’ is to own property.”

Having a home to share with her grandchildren, including Deriyan, is a delight, says Kelli Jarrell.

Having moved in on February 10, Jarrell said she has really enjoyed personalizing her home and meeting her neighbors.

No matter the age of the family seeking to become a homeowner, taking the steps to change from renter to homeowner is well worth while, Jarrell added. “It helps a young family get into a ‘starter home’, build equity, and then maybe move into a dream home.

“For someone like me,” Jarrell continued, “who is a little older and more settled, it’s allowed me to pick a home I’ll enjoy, as I transition into old age – there’s no basement or stairs to climb. As a single-income person, I can afford it, and I’ll build equity.”

It’s not a “giveaway program”, Jarrell remarked. “I worked to clear my credit, and get myself on the road to home-ownership. Some homes came available, but there were obstacles in the way. I stayed on with Proud Ground, and continued looking at their listings.”

Kelli Jarrell says keeping up her home fills her with a sense of pride and well-being.

Then, along came along “her” home. “It must have been that God had chosen this one for me, because everything went smoothly. I really think the Proud Ground program is a good program.”

She’s happy to spread the word about Proud Ground, Jarrell said. “I’d tell anyone interested to sign up, go to the classes, be evaluated, and see if it’s a ‘fit’ for them.”

Her mortgage payment is less than she was paying for rent, she continued. “So, instead of buying a home for someone else, a landlord – you’re buying if for yourself!”

Proud Ground Deputy Director Kathy Armstrong explained how this “land trust” program works.

“Our program helps low and moderate first-time homebuyers, by bringing a sort of subsidy, or investment, to each transaction which lowers the purchase price of the home,” explained Armstrong.

Proud Ground has helped 150 homeowners fulfill their “American dream” of homeownership, says their Deputy Director, Kathy Armstrong.

In exchange for an affordable home, Armstrong continued, “homeowners agree, should they decide to sell the home in the future, to ‘share the equity’ with the next home buyer. So, the current homeowner gets a portion, and the rest of the equity stays at the home, making it affordable for the next buyer.”

Now, Armstrong said, Proud Ground has 125 permanently-affordable homes in its portfolio – and, significantly, has a 0% foreclosure rate among its homeowners.

Learn how you can change from being a renter to being a homeowner, at Proud Ground’s website: CLICK HERE to open it – and begin your adventure.

© 2012 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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