Region gets $100K for housing

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 30, 2004

A federal grant should soon make it easier for people in northeast and central Louisiana to own their own homes.

A region that includes Concordia, Catahoula, Tensas and eight other Louisiana parishes has received a $100,000 federal grant to help low-income families own their own homes.

Among other things, the Mississippi-based Mid South Delta Local Initiatives Support Corp. plans to use the money to provide homeownership and financial counseling for low-income families.

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The money will go to two community development corporations in the region: Macon Ridge CDC of Ferriday, La., and Northeast Delta CDC of Tallulah, La.

With the money, the corporations will be able to provide 300 people with homeownership counseling, said Glenn Nishimura, program director for Mid South Delta LISC. &uot;We’ll guide them through the loan and mortgage process&uot; and teach them about &uot;getting their credit in shape,&uot; Nishimura said. &uot;Often, borrowers will require you to go through the course (to qualify for loans).&uot;

The grant was part of a total of $2 million in grants the U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded to support rural homeownership in 21 states and U.S. territories.

In Louisiana, the grant area included Concordia, Catahoula, Tensas, East Carroll, Madison, Franklin, Richland, West Carroll, Ouachita, Morehouse and Caldwell parishes.

&uot;As a result of this USDA Rural Development funding, more families in rural Louisiana will understand and practice better financial strategies &045;&045; which will reduce loan delinquencies and ensure successful homeownership,&uot; Michael B. Taylor, Rural Development state director and Catahoula Parish native, said in a press release.

USDA Rural Development has set a goal of increasing credit counseling and homeownership education to ensure that more families are able to successfully become and remain homeowners.

That goal was set in response to President Bush’s challenge to increase minority homeownerhsip by 5.5 million families by 2010.