A Story of Renewal, Redemption and Hope

Published 11:46 am Wednesday, April 26, 2023

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Bogalusa Rebirth and West 30s Redemption Company partnered in a joint venture in 2022 to build two new affordable homes on a piece of blighted property in the Richardsontown neighborhood of Bogalusa. Each organization contributed cash equity to the project and Hancock Whitney provided a loan for the remainder of funds needed to complete construction. International Paper Foundation donated funds to demolish the blighted structure on the site.

The first of the two homes on Main Street was in the pre-purchase phase to Renita Ball to be occupied by herself and her three adult children, two of whom have special needs. As final plans for securing her sales contract were being scheduled, Mrs. Renita Ball suddenly and tragically passed away. Her family, now amidst their grief, were facing losing the new home they were so eagerly anticipating.

West 30s Redemption Company and Bogalusa Rebirth decided to get creative. This family needed help! By setting up interim financing through a bond for deed, they were able to get this family housed. (A Bond for Deed is a Louisiana real estate contract in which the purchase price is paid in installments and title is transferred after a period of time). This gives the home buyers ample time to establish adequate financing.

Latishantel Ball is currently in pre-purchase counseling and has already applied for a USDA 502 Direct Loan that will ensure she is successful in her purchase with the best mortgage rate available, to keep their new home affordable. She has committed to working diligently with Bogalusa Rebirth and the team at Habitat for Humanity STW Homeownership Center to complete her homebuying experience.  She is participating in the Financial Inclusion program with Firemen’s Federal Credit Union and is working with local Realtor Bonnie Alford with Fane Properties.  She is receiving direct homebuyer assistance through a Capital One that was granted to Bogalusa Rebirth.

And now, just in time for Easter, the family has moved into their new home! No doubt Mrs. Renita would say, “He is Risen!” “Thank you for everything you’ve done for me and my family”, stated Latishantel.

Wendy Dupont of Bogalusa Rebirth stated “It gives me, the Board of Directors and our partners so much joy to know that Mrs. Renita’s wish has been satisfied. She is surely at peace.”

Pictured from left to right:

JaCory, Lawanda, & Latishay Ball

Ball Family Testimonial:

My friend Renita Cook was at the end of the process of purchasing a home on Main Street for her family when she unexpectedly passed away.

I reached out to Wendy at Bogalusa Rebirth to see if there was anything they could do to help her children continue the process. Not only did she agree, but was already working to see what they may be able to do to get the family in the home. Knowing Renita’s children are in their new home makes my heart smile. I know Renita is smiling down from heaven!!

Thank you Wendy Dupont, and this wonderful organization for all that you do for your community <3

-Tiye Yayu

Bogalusa Free Community Closet

original before Main Street blight