When Alexandra Henry moved to Nebraska from her home state of Colorado, she was disappointed in the quality of rental properties available, and she felt the pet policies most rentals came with added an unnecessary expense.
“I found that most properties in Nebraska don’t allow pets, and if they do, they have a lot of issues that homeowners and landlords don’t fix,” she said. “I had always had dogs for protection as a young woman, and I refused to change that. So, I ended up renting places that were falling apart and fixing most things myself because they were health and safety concerns.”
She decided to take her housing situation into her own hands.
“I thought it was best to invest in my own home and the freedom that comes with being a homeowner instead of constantly paying for repairs on other people’s homes,” Alexandra said.
So, after 10 years of renting, Alexandra started the search for her own home. The dedication to her life’s passions—dance, education, wellness, yoga, entrepreneurship, and fair housing opportunities—all led Alexandra to Grand Island, Nebraska, where she lives and runs her own business.
Alexandra discovered the Center for Rural Affairs through the local chamber of commerce and took advantage of its services to get a loan for her small business, Lumina Curadora, which focuses on wellness through yoga, dance, massage, and holistic practices.
“I work with people from all walks of life, from youth to elderly, and I also choose to work with survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking,” Alexandra said. “I work with people who struggle with PTSD and substance abuse because of their trauma also. It’s very difficult for people to talk openly about their traumas, so yoga is a great place to help people with mindful meditation and energetic healing. A lot of dancers and models struggle with eating disorders, and I offer nutritional coaching and wellness coaching, too.”
With her business blossoming into a successful venture, and a home in her sights, Alexandra knew the Center would be the perfect fit for her personal financing needs.
“I already had my small business loan through the Center, so I felt like it made the most sense to continue working with them,” she said. “I love that this nonprofit helps people like me reach their goals.”
Becoming a homeowner can be stressful for anyone, and Alexandra was no exception. Over the years, she had worked hard to rebuild her credit, which was damaged by an ex-boyfriend’s failure to pay his bills, as well as to recover after falling victim to identity theft.
The assistance she received from Center staff made the journey much smoother than she imagined possible. “We hit a few bumps along the way, but the lender I was working with was absolutely the best person I could have asked for to guide me through this process,” she said. “He truly cared about me and my daughter as well as the safety of our home and the success of my business. That meant a lot to me. That’s why I chose to go through the Center. The staff was caring and compassionate, and that is so important.”
Kim Preston, Center lending services director, is glad the Center could provide so many beneficial services to Alexandra.
“She has taken advantage of all the Center has to offer, and it’s paid off for her on both personal and professional levels,” said Kim. “Alexandra has found entrepreneurial success and a safe home through our business loans, home loans, business counseling, and more.”
Alexandra hopes to increase her loan with the Center to complete renovations she has planned, including adding another room in the attic and access to the basement for storage. She also intends to build an attached garage that may eventually double as studio space.
“I have a lovely front porch and room for gardens, and I can see my dreams happening here,” Alexandra said.
To learn more about the Center’s homeownership loans and to apply, click here.