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Lenders Extend Piece of American Dream to Undocumented Immigrants - Home Ownership

May 09, 2016 (1 min read)

Uriel J. Garcia, Santa Fe New Mexican, May 8, 2016 - "For Erika Balderas Gutierrez, owning a home seemed like an impossible dream.  Not because she works at a restaurant for minimum wage or because she’s a single mother of three children, but because she’s an undocumented immigrant from Mexico.  Still, when she found out that her immigration status wouldn’t prohibit her from obtaining a 30-year mortgage, she began saving money.  After a year, she had squirreled away about $16,000 for a down payment.  Then she worked with Homewise, a Santa Fe nonprofit, and was able to purchase a four-bedroom, two-bathroom house last year on South Meadows Road near Rufina Street. “Every immigrant has the right to get ahead in life,” said Gutierrez, 33. “And if we dedicate ourselves to our goals, we can achieve them.”  As presidential candidates continue to debate what the federal government should do with the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, dozens of immigrants without legal status have grabbed a piece of the American dream in Santa Fe.  Homewise, which aids first-time homebuyers in the Santa Fe area, recently found a new investor to help secure long-term loans to undocumented immigrants.  The group started helping undocumented immigrants get mortgages in 2006, and the program has served about 100 families since, said Mark Vanderlinden, chief lending officer for Homewise.