CENTER, Mo. – John McElfresh, of Center, Mo., took a hands-on approach to building a new laundry room for his home, receiving invaluable instruction and help from members of the Self-Help team at the North East Community Action Corporation. (NECAC).
McElfresh began the New Addition Project through the Self-Contained Housing Program in September. He worked alongside team members including Self-Contained Housing Supervisor Howard Sommer to build the new laundry room. McElfresh is currently installing window and baseboard trims, following the completion of larger tasks in early December.
He said the overall construction of the room is complete, and he noticed how beautiful it looked. McElfresh shared his appreciation for the opportunity to make improvements to his home with the support of members of the Self Help team.
âIt was a real help to me,â he said.
In addition to the stand-alone housing program, NECAC is preparing to receive additional funds in July to expand house weatherization efforts. The Missouri Housing Development Commission’s Home Repair Opportunity (HeRO) grant gives NECAC the opportunity to help homeowners make repairs such as a new roof, allowing future weather protection efforts to be effective. . NECAC is also slowly resuming in-person classes for homeowners, which cover topics such as budgeting, credit, how to buy a home, how to buy a lender and upkeep, said Carla Potts, deputy director of housing development. .
âSo we’re just doing it all, trying to help people become knowledgeable, successful homeowners,â Potts said, adding that everyone gets a notebook with a glossary full of important terms. âWhen you meet a lender or a closing, and they start saying things like principal, interest, taxes, and insurance, and you don’t know what they’re talking about, now you know what they’re talking about. “
Potts said the pandemic has slowed down opportunities to have classes, but the situation is starting to change. Further courses are planned throughout the NECAC service area, including the Home Ownership Center at the Marion County Service Center in Hannibal.
Other educational opportunities include fitness classes, which Potts says are a “prelude to homeownership” for people who need to improve their credit rating or develop a new home. savings plan before you are ready to buy a home.
People can also access the US Department of Agriculture’s 502 Direct Loan for Rural Development through the Homeownership Center and learn more at their local County Service Center. The loan has no down payment, and there is a fixed interest rate over a 33-year payback period (38 years for applicants who are unable to repay the loan over time. shorter).
âIt’s just one of the best loan products for low income to very low income families to own home,â Potts said.
McElfresh was eager to recommend the self-contained housing program to anyone considering a similar project.
“I would encourage them to do it, because it can be a real help, a real time saver and a real lifeline,” he said. “I encourage everyone who is eligible to participate.”
Potts looks forward to a busy 2022, with more opportunities available for people to become owners and for current owners to receive the support they need.
âI think we’re really trying to be this full-service store,â she said. “If you own a house and it needs to be fixed, you need to talk to NECAC. If you want to own a home, you need to talk to NECAC.”
More information is available by contacting their local NECAC County Service Center or by calling Potts at 573-324-6622.