Organization assists families with home ownership

By Megan R. Harrell
Star Staff

With interest rates at a record low, families in Carter County will have opportunity to learn the steps necessary in the process of owning their own homes. The basics of home ownership will be taught to low-income families at the Carter County Courthouse next week as part of a Home Ownership Training Program.
   The Eastern Eight Community Development Corporation, a nonprofit housing and development organization affiliated with East Tennessee State University, will sponsor the workshop. The organization services eight surrounding counties and has sponsored four workshops in Carter County in the past three years. "Our main goal is to help low-income families buy their first homes," said Ani Quinby, Director of Home Ownership. "As long as you are working steadily and bringing in some income it is a possibility for almost anyone to own their own home."
   Quinby will be providing citizens with the tools necessary for the purchase and retention of their homes. She will offer valuable information on budgeting, the mortgage process, credit and credit rehab, as well as foreclosure prevention. Participants will receive a five-chapter guidebook that outlines this information. "We will empower and teach them what they need to do to get their credit in order, so if they ever run into a problem again in the future they will be able to handle it themselves," Quinby said.
   Eastern Eight uses its connections with lending institutions to find the lowest possible interest rates for low-income families. Quinby stated that her organization is able to receive loans with interest rates as low as zero percent for certain programs. "By working with Eastern Eight, families have the opportunity to access low interest rate loans and other assistance programs," Quinby said.
   There are currently two lots in the city of Elizabethton that are owned by Eastern Eight Development Corporation. The properties will be available to qualified households who attend the training workshop.
   The Home Ownership Training Program was developed from focus group participants, and support from lending and real estate professionals. There is a fee of $15 per household that is waived for Family First participants. Graduation certificates will be given upon the completion of the course and families with certificates will be eligible for low-interest financing.
   The night workshops are not limited to low-income families and will be held on March 5 and 12 at the Carter County Courthouse, Elizabethton, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. All interested parties may pre-register by calling the Carter County Neighborhood Service Center at 542-5121.