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HomeFirst, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. Celebrate
Fair Housing Month

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April is “Fair Housing Month” and to celebrate, HomeFirst Housing Resource Services, Inc. is hosting a special Homebuyer's Education Class on Saturday, April 21, partnership with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Macon Alumnae Chapter and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., Gamma Pi Sigma Chapter. The class will be held at the City of Macon Economic and Community Development Department, 200 Cherry Street, Macon Terminal Station from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm.

The Homebuyer's Education Class is the first stop on the path to homeownership. The class provides valuable information and resources to help families become informed and empowered consumers. Everything from the basics of getting ready to buy, choosing a real estate agent, shopping for a mortgage, to what happens at closing and after the sale, is covered during the class. Professional service providers such as lenders, real estate agents, home inspectors, government program representatives and insurance providers share valuable experiences that can help potential homebuyers. Various down payment assistance programs are featured as well.

HomeFirst Housing Resource Services, Inc. was established in 2002 to help residents of Middle Georgia achieve their Homeownership Dreams. Homebuyer Education and Counseling Programs serve as the primary catalysts to helping families make the transition to homeownership.

The agency also provides free one-on-one confidential counseling to help clients who may have credit issues that need to be resolved prior to qualifying for a mortgage. Professionally certified housing counselors are trained to assist clients who may have difficulty understanding the terms and conditions of their loan documents and in understanding what rights they have when going through the process.

Reginald Bell, the center's Executive Director, says “The purpose of the class is to bring together all interested parties to talk about how to navigate the homebuyer process. Hopefully better prepared buyers will help to address the foreclosures that affect everyone and have a multiplier effect as they move throughout the economy. Housing contributes to a large sector of the American economy and foreclosures affect home sales, construction, manufacturing and interest rates, just to name a few. Foreclosures can be devastating.” Bell states that “This is the fourth year the agency has partnered with Delta Sigma Theta and the second year with Phi Beta Sigma to support their national housing initiatives.”

Delta H.O.M.E. (Home Ownership Maintenance and Education), The Delta Homeownership Challenge, created in 2003, paves the way for individuals, especially those in the African-American community, to achieve the dream of homeownership.  This program is designed to allow the communities served to be trained on the three phases of Home Ownership: 1) Buying your home, 2) Living in your home and 3) Keeping your home.  Given the current crisis in the mortgage industry, local chapters are being encouraged to focus on homebuyer education. 

Phi Beta Sigma's Project SEED (Sigma Economic Empowerment Development Project) is a Bigger & Better Business international initiative developed to focus on two important topics of interest: Financial Management and Home Ownership.

Project SEED enables local chapters to host seminars on the two topics in an effort to educate new and current homeowners on refinancing, steps in the application and closing process, choosing a realtor, securing the right type of home loans and ways to receive down payment assistance. 

Both, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Macon Alumnae Chapter and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., Gamma Pi Sigma Chapter, are pleased to partner with the HomeFirst in providing this free service to the residents of Macon-Bibb County.  

If you want to attend the Homebuyer's Education Class, call the agency at 478-803-2373 for more information.

So what do you do if you are facing foreclosure? Bell says "Get help now. Don't wait. The longer you wait the more difficult it will be to get your loan back on track. Contact your local housing counseling agency or HUD for help. Talk to your loan service provider as soon as you know you will have a problem paying your mortgage and take actions to get the resources you will need to save your home." If you don’t know what type of loan you have or its terms, meet with a counselor who can help you make sense of the documents and give you the right advice.

Reginald Bell
Reginald Bell