|Jun 10, 2009 --
LUVERNE, Minn., June 10 – With a lot of support from her family and a little help from USDA Rural Development, Elissa Jahn is now a home owner. Check that, she is now a very proud home owner.
Elissa, a 31-year-old living with Down syndrome, was recognized for her achievement during a special June Homeownership Month celebration at her home in Luverne on Wednesday, June 10. Rural Development staff, along with local officials, attended the event to congratulate Jahn on her achievement.
When Eilssa was born in 1978 her parents, David and Gail, were told it would be best if she was institutionalized. The last thing the Jahns wanted to do was brush Elissa aside, so they enrolled her in an early intervention program.
“That early intervention program was huge,” Gail said. “I really think that’s why she does so well today.”
Elissa also had two holes in her heart when she was born and underwent open-heart surgery. As if that wasn’t enough, she survived a bout with Leukemia at age five and recently had cataract surgery. At Wednesday’s event, a USDA staff member commended Elissa for being a strong fighter throughout her life. Elissa beamed with pride, and said: “I know I am. And I was born with Down syndrome too!”
Elissa, along with her cat JC, moved into the home on April 30. David and Gail help out as much as they can, but Elissa makes it clear that it’s her home and says her parents are “sometimes there too much.” It was Elissa who picked out paint colors, did the majority of the unpacking, and arranged the furniture. She also does her own cooking, laundry and bill paying.
She proudly showed off her new home on Wednesday, highlighting her craft room, bedroom decorations, and family pictures. Elissa was especially excited to have a laundry shoot. No more loading her laundry into a grocery cart and paying $1.25 per load like she did at her apartment.
The Jahn’s began to research the possibility of home ownership for Eilssa when rent and heating bills at Elissa’s old apartment complex continued to increase each year. A local bank referred the Jahn’s to Kathy Smit at Rural Development’s office in Worthington and the home-buying process began.
Rural Development used funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to finance Elissa’s loan.
“I love my house very much,” Elissa said. “Thank you to everybody who came today.”