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NeighborGood Partners opens the door to homebuyers

Celebrating Homeownership Month During NeighborWorks Week—Homeownership Expo June 8 at Delaware Technical Community College



For Kent County resident Trina, home is where the baby bunnies and deer romp in the backyard. It’s the open floor design and the garden tub that she always wanted in the bathroom.


After spending 11 years in an apartment and dreaming of a place of her own, Trina and her adult daughter feel secure and content in their Hartly home.


Buying her first home meant navigating a few hurdles, but she was ready to embark on the journey thanks to help from NeighborGood Partners. Trina took homeownership education classes and worked with a housing counselor to get ready for the home buying process.


She learned that although her credit was good, there were ways to strengthen her financial foundation, such as the strategic use of a credit card to build her credit history.


“I had always paid cash for everything so that was a change. But with the programs, counseling and classes it really helped me get ready, even if life got in the way sometimes,” said Trina, who works in Dover. “I got my loan approval certificate and was in a place to be able to look for my own home, which really taught me patience because I’m a picky person.”


Helping people understand the challenges – and benefits – of homeownership is a key way NeighborGood Partners works to fulfill its mission of strengthening communities through housing, lending and education.


NeighborGood’s financial coaches and housing counselors work with prospective home buyers to help them build credit, reduce debts, increase their credit score and understand the expectations related to buying and maintaining a home. Last year, the Dover-based nonprofit organization counseled or educated 1,442 customers, including 712 financial literacy participants, and assisted 224 households in becoming homeowners.


“Many consumers don’t know where to begin when it comes to buying a house. At NeighborGood Partners, we are able to offer a variety of programs that can help their journey to homeownership,” said Denise Freeman, director of consumer services. “We have counselors who can provide assistance with applying for down payment or settlement assistance programs, and we work with families to help them understand the areas they need to work on related to their finances and credit, even if they don’t buy a home.”


In recognition of June as Homeownership Month, NeighborGood Partners, together with the Delaware State Housing Authority, is holding a Homeownership Expo on Saturday, June 8, at Delaware Technical Community College in Dover. Attendees can get a free credit report, meet with a housing counselor or coach and start on a work plan to guide their future financial journey. Over 20 vendors, including realtors, lenders, home inspectors, insurance agents and others also will be on site.


Owning her own home has meant some new responsibilities for Trina, like mowing her lawn and cleaning the gutters. It may be more work, but for her, it’s a labor of love.

“This is my house and my land,” she said. “I had to learn patience to get here, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I just love it.” 


 

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