SCJ agency prepares first-time home buyers

Workshops help those new to home ownership stay in their homes

In March, Sacred Heart Southern Missions Housing Corporation will begin a series of workshops on the use of credit, especially in regards to mortgages. The series runs through August.

“The classes have become very popular in the past four to five years because the majority of the lenders have made this workshop a requirement before closing on a home loan,” said Cynthia Loyd-Johnson of SHSM-HC. Class participants are often those who are considering home ownership –– and the mortgage that goes with it –– for the first time. Many are just beginning to build their credit history; some come from families that have never had the means to take out a home loan.

“The numbers vary in attendance,” said Cynthia.  “I have conducted workshops with 40 people and I have also held the workshop for two people.”

Between 2009 and 2010 approximately 30 people took the workshop and went on to purchase their first home.

“SHSM-HC is a HUD-approved counseling agency and we are expected to offer workshops to the public,” said Cynthia.  “The need for the class is great.  People understand the process of purchasing a home a lot better once they have completed the class.

“The classes were developed by housing institutes such as NeighborWorks and HUD.  The housing staff learns the basics of conducting a workshop by attending training institutes sponsored by these organizations.  Currently, our new housing counselor, Joyce Moore, conducts the home-buyer education workshop and I conduct the ACE [Adults Continuing Education] workshops for the Dehon Village residents.  The ACE workshops are a requirement of the lease for our Dehon Village residents.  We hope that the ACE classes will assist them with their budgeting and credit needs.”

As Cynthia noted, the workshops are for the general public. Last year, that general public included fellow employees at SHSM. With the challenging economy “I had employees inquiring about housing, foreclosure prevention and credit,” she said.

Employees, just as SHSM clients, face a variety of challenges in today’s economy. “We are in the business of serving,” said Cynthia. “Including our employees.”

Sacred Heart Southern Missions, based in northern Mississippi, is an apostolate of the Priests of the Sacred Heart. Fr. Jack Kurps is the executive director.