With the year coming to a close, the Rochester Housing Authority is celebrating 12 low-income families who are now homeowners through their homeownership program.

“They walked us through the path, the storm we were going through, so I thank God,” Rochester resident Jesse Williams said.

Williams and his wife Leretta have been renting through Section 8 housing for a decade, but finally after all that time…

“Our closing date is this month, we be closing, and we’re very happy,” Leretta Williams said.

They joined 11 other families who also bought homes this year thanks to the Rochester Housing Authority’s Housing and Urban Development Homeownership Program, which has helped 154 families total since 2001.

“I’ve always wanted to own my own home, so I went to the meeting and it sounded too good to be true, but I said, ‘Hey, why not try it?’" Rochester resident Theresa Dillard said. "So I did, and I actually just closed in October.”

Dillard now has a four-bedroom house that can support her growing family, with a grandchild on the way.

“I wanted to leave my kids something. I didn’t want them to struggle living from place to place, so this is something I can give them as well,” Dillard said.

First-time homeowners who meet specific income and employment requirements can qualify to receive a housing choice voucher that helps them buy a home and receive monthly assistance for a period of time.

Melissa Medina, who also closes this month, says the RHA takes you from A to Z.

“They show you how to budget, how to talk to the banks and realtors," Medina said. "They walk you through the whole process basically, and when you call them, they’re always there.”

Now these families truly have a place they can call home.

“I’m definitely looking forward to my grandkids. and especially my barbecuing,” Jesse Williams said.

And if you aren’t sure the program is for you?

“A lot of us are scared to go out there and try it, but I think you should just get up and try it," Dillard said. "The worst they can tell you is no, but it’s definitely worth it.”