Success Stories

Empowered by Home: The Lucky Ones

Khoa and Phuong consider their family among the lucky ones. Over seven years, Khoa worked as an AV tech and Phuong worked as a medical device assembler to save for a down payment as their family rented a room for three. The Empower Homebuyers SCC program made all the difference and opened new doors for the couple to purchase their first home for their family.

Born in Vietnam, Khoa first arrived in the United States at the age of 17. He finished high school and received his college degree before going back to Vietnam for vacation. That’s when he met his wife and stepson. He married and brought his family to the U.S. so that they could all be together.

“We are very happy to have our own place – thank you so much,” says Khoa. “We bought the house and got the house we wanted and needed for our family. It’s our very first home to build new memories.”

Before getting married, Khoa lived with his sister’s family. He and Phuong later rented a garage in San José that was converted into a room, but the setup was inconvenient for a family. The ADU lacked a kitchen and complete bathroom; this often meant that they would need to go inside the house for simple needs like taking a bath. They were determined to find a larger space for their family as their son grew up.

In the process of exploring homebuyer opportunities, the Empower program caught their attention on Facebook. At first, they didn’t believe they would have a chance considering the number of potential applicants within the County. Khoa and Phuong were excited to learn the news that they were among those selected for the program.

“The process of working with the Housing Trust staff is lengthy,” says Khoa. “But we understand that they have to carefully review the documents we submit. They are very detailed and professional. They are really helpful in many ways, and if we submit our papers and are missing something or we don’t understand something, they are very nice to answer our questions.”

Khoa advises interested applicants to not be afraid to apply, especially for those who believe they may qualify. He also encourages program participants to be patient and keep their documentation organized throughout the process.

“This is a big change for us. From now on, we have our own home. That means we have a better place to live and our lives will hopefully become easier,” reflects Khoa. “I don’t have to share the bathroom with people in the same house or go to the backyard to cook. We have more responsibility to pay electric, gas, HOA, and a mortgage – but that is what we want. We want to have our own place and our own house, and that is the biggest goal we have wanted to achieve and follow.”

The three-bedroom, one-bathroom townhouse is located in their ideal location, San José, a central hub for the Vietnamese community in the Bay Area. Phuong especially loves the single-story design. She can move freely from the kitchen to their bedroom to the living room without worrying about stairs as they get older or if they choose to have a baby in the future. Their new home provides ample space for their growing family, as their son is now in college.

“We love the house right now. This is where we want to live. I can go to the supermarket, buy our favorite food or go to nearby restaurants. It’s not far from where we are working right now,” says Khoa. “There is a two-car garage and a backyard for weekend gatherings when we have the time. I look forward to spending time growing flowers in the backyard.”

Homeownership paves the way for building new memories with family and loved ones. Register today to attend a free information session and read more about the Empower Homebuyers SCC program at