I’ve worked hard all my life but I felt I had nothing tangible to show for all that hard work. My husband died suddenly and I found myself living with my sister. Plus I had a 14 year old Lhasa Apso to provide for. I found a new career and went looking for a place to rent. Did you know that if you have a dog landlords say “NO’ or charge you horrible fees?

Not being able to even consider giving up my doggie, I thought maybe I could buy a second hand trailer in a 55+ mobile home park.

I spoke with the management of a nice senior park and after filling out an application, my doggie and I were approved.

Now I had to figure out how to get financing. I had zero savings but I discovered my credit report was mid-range OK.

I had rented a storage unit a couple months back from E.L. Edwards. When I went to pay my bill one day I took one of those life-changing chances. I asked to speak to the Real Estate Agents. We talked about my situation and they looked at all their inexpensive mobile home listings. These two agents, Kelly and Mark, were so kind to me. I was really surprised. After all, I knew they knew I didn’t have a high income and no savings for any type of down payment. But they listened to me. The two of them seemed genuinely concerned for my predicament and then they pointed me in the direction that would change my life: Neighbor Works Umpqua, a helping hand program that guides you in the process of becoming a home owner.

I walked in to that office full of fear that this would probably never work out for someone like me. That’s when I met Valorie Rose.

I told her about my idea to purchase a small used mobile home. We looked and looked for financing. She made dozens of calls on my behalf. We found dead ends everywhere. She had a copy of the credit report I provided and kept saying, “you’re just right there. So close … ”

That’s when she asked me why I had my sights set on a mobile. I admitted I didn’t think I could have a real house. And that is when this lovely lady really went to work for me.

She gave me instructions on how to qualify for their program. There was a nominal fee for materials, a computer class to take and copies of tax returns, income statements and a letter from my sister to secure.

I did absolutely everything she told me to do, step by step. A couple of appointments later she told me I could go shopping for a real ‘stick built’ house. Valorie had helped me define my budget and shown me how much I could afford to ask from a secure lender. A real bank. Umpqua Bank.

I was stunned. During this whole process I still had that feeling that this was not really going to happen. No way could I be that lucky. I really was afraid to get my hopes up too high. Valorie told me to find a Realtor and have them help me find a home in my defined price range. I knew exactly who I was going to go see. Kelly and Mark, my friends, at E.L. Edwards. I walked in to their office that day with tears in my eyes.

Take me shopping! I said. Kelly took me all over the place. My sister joined in on the search. We found the ‘perfect’ place in just a few weeks. There were things to do. Of course, there always are, but with the help of Kelly, Valorie, my wonderful sister and a terrific lady named Pam VanDolah at Umpqua Bank, we put an offer on the little grey 1924 cottage overlooking the bay. It even had a nice hill with a good sized yard for my old doggie. The owners accepted my offer right away!


Mark and Kelly hand held me through the entire process. Mark came with me to sign all those scary title papers and the title company even let me keep the pen! Pam at Umpqua Bank gave me a key chain with a shiny little house on it and Valorie rejoiced and hugged me. My home buying experience took about four months from beginning to end and my little house closed two days before my 59th birthday.Kriss' new home has space for her doggie

I have been in my home for a little over two years now. My little old doggie, Philo, passed away last February and is now buried in the corner at the top of “Philo’s Hill.” He loved it here; so do I.

Without the help and assistance of all these wonderful people, this never would have happened for me.

I have recommended this program, Neighbor Works Umpqua, E.L. Edwards and Umpqua Bank over and over to anyone I see in a similar situation.

Take a chance on your future! Do what they tell you, the way that they tell you and believe that there are amazing people out there just waiting to help you and your family find a home that is perfect for you.