NeighborWorks Success Story

Stacy McClellan of Green Bay realized she faced obstacles trying to fulfill her dream; limited credit, not much cash, credit card debt. Yet McClellan wanted, for the very first time, her own home. To get it, she would need “the perfect marriage.”

A project manager for a research consulting firm in Green Bay, McClellan had been renting from a couple, one of whom was a realtor who gave her advice.

“He said you’d be so much better off purchasing a house,” said McClellan.

The tip sent McClellan to the Internet where she made two discoveries: 1) The house she wanted and 2) NeighborWorks Green Bay (, a community organization with services that include homebuyer education and counseling. She took advantage of the NeighborWorks Green Bay’s homebuyer education classes.

“People think it’s (purchasing a home) like Saturday afternoon car shopping and two hours later there’s a car in their driveway,” said Jeff Van Rens, a NeighborWorks Green Bay housing counselor. “The class gives individuals a better idea of what they’re getting into.”

Following the class, McClellan returned to the Internet and the website of WHEDA ( ) the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority. There she found Kelly Peterik, a mortgage loan officer at Baylake Bank and a top Green Bay-area WHEDA lender who, despite McClellan’s financial hurdles, guided her through the home buying steps smoothly.

“Stacy did her homework and legwork and took the class. That takes the stress out,” said Peterik.

“During the whole process she was like a mom and helped me feel at ease because it was nerve wracking not knowing what the final outcome would be,” said McClellan.

With Peterik’s help, McClellan was able to secure a WHEDA first-time home buyer loan. The house-hunting journey began in late 2012, and on March 15, 2013, McClellan closed on that Green Bay house she first saw on the Internet and now lives there with her fiancée and two children.

“There’s been a psychological shift going from renting to owning,” said McClellan. “I felt a sense of community immediately, a sense of stability and pride. It felt so good to have a Christmas at our house. At the closing when the keys were put in our hands, it was an amazing feeling.”

With another summer approaching, the family has a new addition. McClellan’s thirteen year old daughter had wanted a dog her whole life. That was impossible while renting. But in March they adopted Lucas, a two-year-old American Eskimo from the Bay Area Humane Society. The idea was then to create a fun place for the kids and Lucas to play safely this summer. Once again the family turned to WHEDA, this time to help add a fence.

“We plan to use a WHEDA Advantage Home Improvement Loan to finance this improvement, which makes this totally affordable,” said McClellan.

“To me, there’s no better combination of programs than WHEDA,” said Peterik. “I can use WHEDA with NeighborWorks Green Bay, there’s down payment assistance, an option for no private mortgage insurance, Easy Close (designed to help home buyers get into a home sooner) and now the WHEDA Tax Advantage (qualifying home buyers can claim a tax credit against their federal income tax liability of up to $2,000 a year). I don’t know why you wouldn’t go with WHEDA. It’s a perfect marriage of services.”

Since 1972, WHEDA has helped more than 110,000 families like Stacy McClellan’s to purchase their first homes. For more information, visit or call 1-800-334-6873.

To sign up for NeighborWorks Homebuyer Education classes call 920-448-3075.


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