The Washington Post: One home, a lifetime of impact

The Washington Post, July 23, 2020: One home, a lifetime of impact

In 1936, Tai Christensen’s great-grandmother, a housekeeper and widow in North Carolina with four sons, saved up $500 and bought a house at age 35. That decision, which changed the trajectory of her family’s finances for generations to come, wasn’t easy for a black woman facing racist housing policies. Mary Pherribo and her late husband, George Pherribo, were both born to parents who had been enslaved.

Mary Pherribo had been inspired by her late husband’s grandfather, Henderson Faribault, who became a chef upon his emancipation from slavery, bought a 50-acre property and left each of his eight children a house upon his death in 1901, Christensen said.

“The guts it took for them to make that choice was amazing,” says Christensen, director of governmental affairs at CBC Mortgage Agency, a national housing finance agency based in South Jordan, Utah, that provides down payment assistance. “It’s proof that you can change the entire line of your family’s story. My father and my uncle own multiple properties and pretty much everyone in my family owns a home and has gone to college because of her decision.”

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