A federal initiative is getting off the ground to increase home ownership in Mississippi's low income areas. As MPB's Desare Frazier reports, the pilot program adds help with finding a job to the mix.
Freddie Mac, the nation's federal home mortgage corporation, is targeting Mississippi in a new pilot project to promote home ownership in underserved areas. Mike Dawson is with the agency.
"Freddie Mac as you know doesn't lend directly. We help our lender community provide programs and services to help existing and potential homeowners be successful in home ownership," said Dawson.
To that end, Freddie Mac is partnering with two non-profits and an employment firm to help people in high poverty areas like the Delta own a home. Hope Credit Corporation, is on board. So is D & E. Patrice Duncan is with the company. She says D & E provides housing counseling services. Duncan says they have an office in McComb, where last year they helped 2,500 people through their programs. They provide one-on-one counseling, education classes and help with rehabilitating credit scores. Duncan says adding employment assistance is a great asset to the effort.
"Every aspect of that process will be covered through the housing counseling, through the job placement, the job coaching and counseling, through the loan product, it's a powerful partnership," said Duncan.
John Courtney is CEO of NextJob, a re-employment company. The housing counseling services will refer those who are seeking employment or underemployed to NextJob for help.
"Making sure that they find all of the jobs that do exist,and we find that there are still about 50 percent of all jobs that are in what they call the hidden market and the hidden market are those jobs they do not post because they're hiring through their own network," said Courtney.
There is no age limit for those seeking to become home buyers. Patrice Duncan with D & E says they've helped people in their 70's become homeowners.
Editor’s Note: This story has been corrected to say 2,500 clients have been counseled by D & E. The original version incorrectly reported that those clients had become homeowners.