Success Stories

Empowered by Home: Marcela and her Son

Woman and son in home

Sometimes a well penned letter can change things forever.

When Marcela and her six year old son first saw the house she would eventually purchase with help from the Empower Homebuyers SCC down payment assistance program, they fell in love. They were also charmed by the neighborhood and the Gilroy community. Marcela made an offer on the house and wrote a heartfelt letter to the owner, explaining her background and why the house was perfect for the Licensed Clinical Social Worker and her young son.

“The owner eventually told me when I met her in person she picked my offer because of the letter I wrote to her,” said Marcela. “My son is my world. He is the main reason I decided to purchase a home.” 

Before moving into the new home, Marcela had been renting a duplex for six years and knew that she did not want to rent forever. She wanted to give her son a better home and community, “Something that we could call ours and make it our permanent home.” In addition, she was thinking about her aging parents and how eventually they will need her help and support. Buying a house fulfilled all her long term plans.  

Born in Central America and raised in San Jose since she was a toddler, Marcela is a San Jose State University alum with a Masters degree in Social Work. She works for a nonprofit mental health agency as a Mental Health Therapist and Program Supervisor. These days, she juggles remote working and her son’s online distance learning, and is thankful for the larger space that their new home provides. 

Marcela saw first hand how the Empower Homebuyers SCC down payment assistance program can help make dreams come true. Her sister and her family also went through the program and they recommended it to her. “Without this program I would have not been able to purchase a home on my own,” she said. “Buying a house was not stress free, but I had such a great [REALTOR® Dave Silva of Crystal Estates] helped me along the way with any questions that I had. In addition, the Empower team were amazing to work with. They made the entire process smooth. We were always in communication throughout the whole process.” 

For people who want to buy their first home with the down payment assistance program, Marcela advises, “Stay on top of every document needed or else it can delay the process. Communication and submitting everything in a timely manner are so important.” 

Marcela and her son and moved into their forever home a few months ago and are enjoying it, even though the pandemic has limited their ability to have visitors. “We definitely feel blessed to have a home of our own,” she said. “My son has told me many times, ‘Thank you, Mama for buying this house, it is so big and I have more room to play in.’ Once this pandemic is over, I anticipate that we will have many family gatherings.”  

Empower Homebuyers SCC is the Measure A funded down payment assistance program created by the County of Santa Clara and administered by Housing Trust Silicon Valley. For more information visit

Learn more about Empower Homebuyers SCC and other resources available for first-time homebuyers at Housing Trust Silicon Valley’s Homeownership Expo and Virtual Exhibit Hall on Saturday, May 15th from 1:00pm to 5:00pm. There will be videos on demand about the homebuying process, live panel discussions with REALTOR’SⓇ and lenders available in English, Spanish and Vietnamese, and more. Click here for more information and to register for the Expo