Housing programs, finding the right fit

By Krystal Allan - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Denise Racz is a success story from the REACH Mississippi program.  The single mother of two moved into her first home in March.

"It's great knowing there's somebody out there to help you if you work for it. It gives you a sense of pride and accomplishment," says Racz.

The Gulf Coast Renaissance Corporation launched the REACH program. It matches employer dollars to help workers who qualify for the program buy affordable homes.

Another program recently rolled out is the REACH Scholarship program. It has the same goal but helps employees in the public sector. The REACH scholarship program comes with a $10,000 scholarship for each employee who qualifies.

"We've invited the cities, counties and school districts to all participate in that program," says Kim LaRosa, President and CEO of Gulf Coast Renaissance Corporation.

My Home My Coast is another program under the Gulf Coast Renaissance Corporation looking to get people into affordable homes.

"My Home My Coast doesn't require the employers help, so it opens it up to a huge population that still has an unmet need," says LaRosa.

It's open to those whose income does not exceed 120% of area median income, that's about $60,000 for a family of four, people who haven't owned a home in the last six months and those looking to locate or re-locate to the coast.

"It has a down-payment assistance, a 0% second mortgage, and it a grant for closing costs," says LaRosa.

Just this week, yet another housing program was unveiled by the Gulf Coast Community Foundation. It's called the Coming Home Collaborative Program.

"The foundation rolled out a program for people who need to do repairs to their home or to a home that they've purchased post-Katrina, so it's focused on re-habbing homes," says LaRosa.

Those who qualify basically get a five year forgivable loan to rehab their homes. The goal is to rehab 175 homes in two years.

Excluding the Coming Home Collaborative Program which hasn't launched yet, more than 2,500 people are going through the other three programs. The four programs offer a leg-up to those looking to make a house their home, but ultimately, Racz says it's a dream you've got to push for to become reality.

"They just help you get to that point, and from there on, you have to carry it through," Racz says.

For information on the three programs under the Gulf Coast Renaissance Corporation you can call 228-896-3386.

The Gulf Coast Community Foundation will start The Coming Home Collaborative Program May 29th. You can call 228-896-4841 for more information.

June 13th the groups will hold a housing event at the Donal Snyder Center in Biloxi.

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