Coast nonprofit helping low-income minority families during the pandemic

Mercy Housing has various programs to help underserved communities on the Gulf Coast.

Coast nonprofit helping low-income families, minorities during the pandemic

GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Mercy Housing and Human Development in Gulfport is a nonprofit that focuses on economic growth, financial literacy, and housing within the minority community.

Research shows that minorities often lack access to financial literacy training and home ownership. Mercy Housing’s goal is to help bridge the gap by directly impacting the community.

Access to necessities for minorities that improve a family’s way of life are usually inaccessible for low-income communities. A pandemic only adds to the challenges.

Xuan Tran, the Vietnamese outreach coordinator at Mercy Housing, explains how their various programs can help.

“Its not just home ownership. We have assistance for rental, looking at your lease, looking at resources that are out there. Where do you go for all this information? We’re kind of like the resource hub,” said Tran.

Mercy Housing also doubles as a vita site.

“So that means that we prepare taxes for free,” explained Tran. “A lot of people don’t know the reason they’re not getting their stimulus is because they didn’t file their taxes. So we’re able to assist people with filing for taxes, even back years.”

With social distancing being a concern, Mercy Housing has switched to virtual training.

“We do a home buyer educational class, rental counseling, credit counseling, foreclosure counseling,” said Tran. “If there isn’t a class for it, we’ll do a counseling with you.”

There’s also a minority task force that focuses on outreach to specific demographics.

“Our goal for this task force is to send out information regarding anything COVID-19,” she said. “Right now, we’re focusing on vaccinations.”

Gulfport resident Doretha Magee is a past client of Mercy Housing, taking advantage of their services when she was purchasing her home. Through the nonprofit’s program, she was able to take home ownership workshops before buying her first property.

“There were a lot of things I did not know about becoming a homeowner that were very beneficial to me because knowledge is power,” she said. “Now, I’m back on track. Me and my husband are working on that.”

To learn more about the many programs and services Mercy Housing offers, you can sign up for classes virtually on their website.

Copyright 2021 WLOX. All rights reserved.