Tag Archives: Housing

Financial Literacy Pays Off

It is Saturday, not yet 9—an early morning in The Woodlands with the promise of heat and humidity as people begin to arrive for the monthly Easter Seals Greater Houston‘s Homebuyer and Financial Literacy class/Down Payment assistance workshop. Zip codes filling up the sign-in sheets speak of distance traveled that morning:  Harris, Ft. Bend, Brazoria, Waller, Walker Galveston, and  Chambers.  They come from neighborhoods from rural to urban, big city and small town, over a multi-county stretch.  They represent many different income, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds, but all with the same purpose – qualifying for the down payment assistance program that will allow them to purchase a home.

Over coffee and doughnuts, the individual hoyo1stories take shape.  A widowed grandmother talks about the apartment complex where she has lived comfortably for the last 15 years but has struggled to pay the rapidly increasing rent over the last few years.  Living on a fixed income with little assets, meeting her monthly rent payments had become unsustainable, and homeownership seemed to be a pipe dream without some kind of assistance.

A young couple with 2 young children spoke of their need for space, a backyard, and safe sidewalks where their kids could bike to neighbors or area parks.

One single Mom of 2 children, who had survived on rental assistance through the county, proudly talked of her now stable job with the expectation of finally owning her own home close to her children’s school.  Without down payment assistance that dream of homeownership would remain just that – a dream, as even with good credit and little debt, qualifying for a home she could afford on her income would be impossible without some down payment assistance.

hoyo-staff-and-family-close-upOver the course of the morning, all the local, state and federal down payment assistance programs were reviewed.  Mortgage guidelines were discussed and the steps towards homeownership were outlined.  Each of these families left class that day with a plan before them, and some months later, all are now proud property owners of a home of their choice.

Homeownership is not for everyone, nor is it something that happens over night; however, with the help of the Easter Seals Greater Houston housing team, commitment to your financial goals, and perseverance, it is attainable.

Whether this is your first home or a move back into homeownership after years of renting, the homebuyer class/ Down Payment assistance workshop is a great first step towards one of the most important purchases of your life.

For more information on Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Homebuyer/Down Payment Assistance workshops or #BankOn, email: kthorstenberg@eastersealshouston.org.

Katy Thorstenberg, Housing Initiative, Easter Seals Greater Houston

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THRIVE Connection

Easter Seals’ clients, volunteer and staff alike are people who embody the “can do” attitude of not just survival but the ability to thrive while facing the challenges of our lives with disabilities and abilities. One particularly complex test relates to the financial needs and desires of families when at least one member has special needs.  The additional financial cost can vary from average $HOYO3  108 to $8742 per year, according to one public health study. We all know that “cost” is not only defined as dollars and cents, but in time and energy to care for all the members of a household. This is where THRIVE Connection can help. It is the financial education and coaching program piece of the Housing Initiative here at Easter Seals and an initiative lead by United Way Greater Houston and many other amazing local npo’s as a collaborative partnership.

The THRIVE Connection has financial coaches on hand to help individuals and families look that their financial history and help them plan and reach their goals. As each family is different so are their goals. The coaches assist with creating household bud???????????????????????????????get to create savings plans for emergencies or school tuition for family members, improving credit scores with debt reduction plans and financial preparation for first-time home ownership. Clients can receive individual financial coaching or attend small group sessions of Housing Orientation Seminar and Credit Boot Camp.  When a client is financially ready to purchase their home, the HUD-approved Home Buyer Education class is available. THRIVE connection at Easter Seals is part of the larger THRIVE collaborative through the United Way Greater Hohoyo 3uston network of agencies with programs that assist and support families in reaching their future goals.  The various programs are available around Houston. The Easter Seals Greater Houston Housing Orientation Seminars take place at the Metropolitan Multi-Service Center. ESHG Credit Boot Camps and Home Buyer Education classes are held at our agency offices in Bellaire and The Woodlands. Individual financial coaching appointments occur at the main office in Bellaire. For more information or to schedule an appointment call 713-838-9050.

by Michele Schauer, THRIVE Connection at Easter Seals Greater Houston

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