Housing Fair set for mid-June

Published 4:18 am Saturday, June 3, 2017

June is National Home Ownership Month and Project Save Bogalusa, aka Bogalusa Rebirth, will host a housing fair on from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on June 17 in the gymnasium at ESM United Methodist Church, 510 Avenue B.
“According to Census data from 2010, the City of Bogalusa had a population of 12,232 and had 5798 housing units,” said Wendy Williams, founder of Save Bogalusa, which recently changed its name to Bogalusa Rebirth. “Only 58 percent of those homes are owner occupied. That defines a staggering 42 percent of units that are being rented.
“The City of Bogalusa had an astonishing 36.8 percent population of persons in poverty. The impact of teaching low-income individuals how buying is easily attainable and more cost effective than renting could be very dynamic. I also think this will be a great opportunity to bring the community together to support our efforts.”
Project Save Bogalusa was recently certified as a Community Housing Development Organization by the Louisiana Housing Corporation following the guidelines required by HUD.
“As you may know, home ownership is an American value and the cornerstone of our economy,” said Williams. “Home ownership is also the key to building wealth. Our goal is to restore our neighborhoods by driving our efforts toward the overwhelming issue of blight, while teaching residents how they can build wealth with home ownership. Our organization is looking to boost home ownership.”
The fair will feature organizations that focus on housing topics, such as first-time home ownership, obtaining a clear title on heir property, foreclosure prevention, programs for homeowners to make repairs and improvements, and the availability of housing choice voucher programs.
“The goal of the housing fair is to inform the public on the opportunities that are available to them, and ways to make the community a great place to live,” Williams said. “This will be a great avenue to bring the community together to support revitalizing our community. And we will have registration and door prizes offered.”
She said she is currently working to get vendors, sponsors, and speakers lined up.
Some of the agencies already signed up are: USDA Rural Development which will discuss all of it’s loan and grant programs to assist low-income owner/occupants with repair and improvements, and to discuss programs that provide renters financial opportunities to own their own home; Bogalusa Housing Authority will discuss its housing choice voucher program; Louisiana Appleseed will address heir property, and how to obtain a clear title; Louisiana Housing Corporation will tackle how to make a house a home, and teach attendees the steps to home ownership. The United Way will educate people on the IDA program, matched savings account program, and on how to help low-income individuals purchase long-term assets; and Ranie Thompson, Director of Legal Services for Crescent Care and the NO/AIDS Task Force, will cover first-time homebuyers and foreclosure prevention.
Anyone who is interested in participating in the Fair can reach Williams at savebogalusa@bellsouth.net.