Thirty-four prospective homebuyers earned their HUD Certification and were able to attend two informational workshops, obtain free credit reports, scores and counseling, and gain access to three lenders with affordable products for first-time homebuyers. Alma Rojas, the UNHP Financial Coach from The Financial Clinic, assisted 17 attendees print their credit reports, 2 people work on a budget and scheduled many others for 1:1 financial coaching appointments at the UNHP Northwest Bronx Resource Center. The Resource Center offers a range of interconnecting free financial services including HUD certified homebuyer counseling via The Parodneck Foundation and financial coaching via The Financial Clinic - these two services work particularly well together as the coach can assist with budgeting and credit issues faced by prospective homebuyers. The Parodneck Foundation and The Financial Clinic are partners at the Northwest Bronx Resource Center offering monthly home-buyer counseling and twice weekly coaching by appointment.
Lenders Amalgamated Bank, Sterling National Bank and HSBC attended the Expo, co-led the workshops and provided information about their mortgage products, access to mortgage pre-qualifications and information about special products for homebuyers. Sterling National Bank and HSBC are members of the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York’s First-time Home Club Matched Savings Program. Participants may qualify to receive grant funds of up to $7,500 towards the down payment and closing costs. This special savings program will match $4 for every $1 saved, up to $1,875. Available for prospective qualified home buyers in New Jersey and New York State, this program offers significant help towards the purchase of a first home.
Homebuyers who are well-informed of the rewards and responsibilities of homeownership through adequate counseling and information can receive a certification that will give them access to grants, special programs and the First-time Home Club. All of the attendees attended two informational workshops offered by Jumelia Abrahamson, the Director of the UNHP Northwest Bronx Resource Center, and Gerald Carter and Noemi Aviles, home-buyer counselors with the Parodneck Foundation. Sterling National Bank, Amalgamated Bank and HSBC mortgage lenders also participated in the workshops offering information about their bank's products and the mortgage process.
Workshop 1 focused on the steps needed for homeownership with presentations on affordability, income criteria, and credit requirements. Workshop 2 honed in on the mortgage process, closing costs, special programs for qualifying first-time buyers and the cost of maintaining a home. Fifteen attendees signed up for 1:1 home-buyer counseling at the Resource Center as a follow-up to the information and services provided at the Expo. UNHP assisted those interested home-buyers who brought their income information with them and obtained credit reports by assembling homeownership packets that can be used at follow-up appointments with lenders and the home-buyer counselor.
UNHP and Expo partners were pleased with the attendance and the readiness level of participants. Many participants had excellent credit scores and came prepared with income information, questions and a desire to move forward with a home purchase.