SCHENECTADY —Tracey Joseph was working as a DJ in New York City when he met the woman who changed his life.
He and Jacqueline married and moved to Schenectady and settled down in a house owned by his late father.
But the family couldn't hold onto it and moved into a rental unit on Avenue B.
That’s when they linked up with Habitat for Humanity of Schenectady County, who steered them toward homeownership.
Last month, they moved into a gleaming new house on the corner of Davis Terrace and 6th Avenue in the city’s Mont Pleasant neighborhood.
“I feel like a king,” Tracey Joseph said. “I feel blessed.”
The Josephs reside at the tidy two-story home with their three children: Tresean, 21, Tramell, 15, and Tranayih, 4.
Tracey shared his story at a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-organized event on Thursday designed to promote National Homeownership Month.
HUD Regional Administrator Lynne Patton said home ownership stabilizes communities while helping homeowners build equity.
“Responsible home ownership is the cornerstone of the American dream,” she said.
The federal agency provided $60,000 in funding for the home. A web of federal, state and local agencies helped facilitate the process, including the city’s Development Office and Better Neighborhoods, Inc.
Urban cities are heavily reliant on HUD to fund infrastructure, housing and community projects annually. Schenectady received approximately $3.5 million this year.
The Trump administration has proposed deep cuts to the discretionary funding stream annually, including a 16.4 percent cut as part of its proposed budget this year. The program, however, has garnered bipartisan support and Congress has ultimately been successful in staving off cuts.
“Don’t stress about hypotheticals,” Patton told attendees. “Home funds are not going anywhere.”
Tracey said the process to obtain housing through Habitat could be onerous at times, but the family never gave up.
“We just kept going,” he said.