Over 200 Chicagoans buy their first home with help from Far South Side nonprofit

Homeowning
The Far South Community Development Corporation, a local nonprofit, has helped over 200 first-time homebuyers successfully purchase a new home over the past 18 months. Photo credit Getty Images

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — The Far South Community Development Corporation, a Chicago-based nonprofit, has helped over 200 first-time homebuyers successfully purchase a new home over the past 18 months.

Far South Vice President of Community and Housing Janece Simmons said their services are available to anyone, no matter how much — or how little — you might know about the homebuying process.

“People don’t [always] come in ready, they come in trying to figure out how to get ready,” Simmons said. “So, we talk about money management. We talk about knowing your credit score ... understanding credit, [and] how a score is tabulated.”

A big part of Far South’s services is its six-hour homebuyer education webinar, which is held once a month for free.

November’s session will take place on Nov. 12. Although the monthly workshops are geared toward purchasing a home, Simmons said they also host workshops that will answer questions regarding post-purchase tips and foreclosure prevention.

Simmons, a Humboldt Park native, said keeping Far South's various workshops virtual provides an extra protection for those with questions about foreclosure, and who might like to maintain a degree of anonymity.

“Having the opportunity to do our education where people can be somewhat anonymous, be in the comfort of their homes, be able to hear from the actual industry experts and ask questions is extremely helpful,” she said.

Far South’s eight home counselors — three of whom are fluent in Spanish and English — are all certified to meet federal standards set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

After completing the homebuying webinar, each prospective homeowner can also schedule a two-hour, one-on-one counseling session. If someone is eligible for grants to help make their down payment, these sessions will help show how to get that money.

In addition to its homeowner education, Simmons said the organization hosts a number of outreach events with the goal of showing how homebuying can be a way to close the city’s racial wealth gap.

“We discuss the racial wealth gap, and how, you know, one of the first phases to growing wealth is owning,” she said. “So, being able to be in these communities where they are predominantly African American, I think, is really important.”

Anyone hoping to participate in the Nov. 12 homebuying webinar must first complete this assessment by Wednesday. More information may be found on Far South’s website.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images