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Community Housing Resource Center

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Pre-Purchase Services:

• Get the Facts Orientation: is a 90-minute educational workshop intended to dispel common misconceptions about buying and owning a home. The core element of the workshop is to create a non-threatening environment for community members to explore the possibility of homeownership, separate fact from fiction, remove perceived barriers to homeownership and open the doors of homeownership to families who might think it is impossible. This free workshop is held twice each month to prospective homebuyers and also outlines the steps to homeownership and the services provided by the Center. Prospective clients learn what they can and should expect during the process of making their first-home purchase and how the Community Housing Resource Center can assist them through the process of becoming a homeowner.

• Pre-purchase Assessment: assesses the client’s readiness to buy, their financial capacity and eligibility for first-time homebuyers programs including down-payment assistance programs targeted for low-income families. Credit Reports are pulled and financial profiles analyzed. If financial obstacles or barriers are identified, then a homebuyer action plan is created with recommendations to register for the financial education class, Finance Smart, or move to the Homebuyer Education Workshop. This new approach to ascertaining the client’s preparedness, streamlines the process while addressing the necessary information in a more efficient and thorough manner.

• Finance Smart : is a five hour class designed to teach the fundamentals of personal finance. Instructors cover topics such as maintaining a family spending plan, using checking, debit and credit cards wisely, understanding consumer rights, creating a savings account, establishing and maintaining good credit and becoming ready to apply for a loan and make informed financial decisions.

• Credit Education/Debt Management and Budget Counseling: demonstrates to clients in a one-on-one setting how to establish a spending plan, understand their credit score, address damaged credit, read credit reports, and how to work with credit agencies as well as how to establish a systematic payment plan and manage debt. Counseling is not limited to first-time homeowners; renters and current homeowners may access this valuable service too. Counseling is available in both Spanish and English.

• Homebuyer Education Workshops: provide an overview of the home-buying process, from both the housing real estate professionals’ and buyers’ perspectives. It outlines the purchasing steps and requirements as well as a variety of other issues including the value of home inspections, variety of loan types, special public loan programs, and homeowners insurance. Upon completion, attendees receive a Certificate of Completion. This certificate is required by several loan programs available to low and moderate income first time homebuyers.

• Home Choice Counseling: offers a solution for people with disabilities who may need assistance for securing a down payment. The Community Housing Resource Center provides the required one-on-one counseling for clients wishing to participate in “Home Choice’, a statewide down-payment assistance program for people with documented disabilities.

• Free tax preparation services: are offered at the Center during tax season. Center staff provide extensive community outreach activities to promote the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for low wage earners. Locally many low wage workers fail to claim federal tax credits and lose many dollars that they are entitled to collect from the federal government. In partnership with United Way of the Columbia Willamette, free tax preparation services are provided by appointment at the Center.

Homeowner Education and Counseling:

The Community Housing Resource Center recognizes that to maintain successful homeownership, the education process must continue, and counseling services need to be available to homeowners. The purpose of these services is to protect the investment of homeownership which for most people is the largest and most valuable asset they will own.

• The City of Vancouver Rehab Loan Program: pairs qualified homeowners with financial assistance for basic home repairs up to $25,000. Residents must have equity in their home to participate. The Community Housing Resource Center offers free counseling to determine program eligibility.

• Post-Purchase Counseling: is designed to encourage responsibility and prevent mortgage default and foreclosure. It addresses the importance of home maintenance and weatherization, insurance and home safety, refinancing a mortgage, equity loans and lines of credit, and avoiding common financial pitfalls to protect one’s investment and prevent foreclosure.

• Reverse Mortgage Counseling: offers one-on-one counseling service administered by an AARP nationally certified staff member, who educates clients over age 62 about options available to allow them to continue living in their homes and receive income from their equity. Other resources or alternatives are explored and financial implications and potential tax consequences disclosed. Clients receive a certificate demonstrating counseling completion required by lenders for reverse mortgages.

• Mortgage Default Prevention Workshops and Mortgage Delinquency Counseling: is available to anyone behind in mortgage payments or who fears that potential due to their financial circumstances. The Mortgage Default Prevention workshop is required to access counseling services and held weekly at the Center. Counseling assists the client in establishing a workable solution with their lender or determining realistic options. A comprehensive approach is taken so the problem does not recur once the loan is reinstated. Alternatives to foreclosure are thoroughly explained, along with the long-term implications of foreclosure. Mortgage Delinquency Counseling is available in both Spanish and English.