Angela Wallace-Larish - Secure & Stable at Long Last
Written by Cecilia LaFrance
“We never wanted to live in a townhouse,” said Angela Wallace-Larish, recalling her explicit instructions to her realtor as Angela and husband Jeremiah Larish were finally able to fulfill their dream of homeownership. The couple had spent the previous 15 years paying off bankruptcy debt and bills, saving for a down payment, and improving their credit scores—all the while living with the threat of losing their small, aging mobile home.
The high school sweethearts had been making ends meet in Buena Vista, raising their son as young parents, working and taking classes. When Jeremiah suffered a serious back injury in 2004, their trajectory was thrown toward hardship. With Jeremiah permanently disabled, the couple struggled with medical bills added to their already stretched budget. “We went from two incomes to one,” Angela said. They moved into the mobile home Angela’s parents had originally moved to Buena Vista when she was 5 years old.
At the time, Angela remembers, there were three mobile home parks north of Buena Vista. “That was the affordable housing.” Since then, she said, most of the mobile homes have been moved or demolished, converted into more profitable RV pads. The threat loomed for their own 1970 mobile home. The couple raced against the area’s escalating housing market to become attractive buyers.
In 2020, after their bids on single-family properties continually lost out to cash buyers or much higher bids, they took a hard look at townhouse living at the Farm, where their USDA Direct loan would more than suffice. “It took us 30 years,” Angela said, but their 916 square foot unit has proven to provide the security and space they needed.
Angela and Jeremiah reflect on what they’ve gained. Beyond the obvious doubling of square footage, which allows permanent storage of items previously shuffled amid stacked containers, the couple have achieved a sense of stability and security. They no longer worry about displacement. “I’m super thankful not having to scramble to get something. We would have been homeless,” Angela said.
The space also accommodates company. Angela said she previously didn’t feel confident to have guests in her cramped space which constantly felt cluttered. Now, a second bedroom is frequently occupied by a granddaughter who lives locally. In fact, after vacating their mobile home, her granddaughter and family moved in when they were facing their own housing challenge. “The mobile home still stands and continues to provide for our family,” Angela said.
“I feel like we’re super resilient,” Angela said, both she and Jeremiah raised in homes with financial struggles. “Everything we’ve built, we’ve built together.”
Spanish translation coming soon.