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NeighborWorks Home Partners is combining households.

office building at 533 Dale Street N

With our roots as a community-based organization, we strive to provide high quality and easily accessible services to the customers we serve. We are excited to announce that we are bringing all of our staff together in a central location that will be more accessible to our customers throughout Saint Paul and Minneapolis whether they travel by train, bus, foot, bike, or car.

In late June the staff currently housed at our Water Street office will join our staff at 533 Dale Street. To prepare for this move, our Frogtown location will be undergoing some interior renovations that may require temporary closures – we apologize in advance for any inconveniences this may cause. Once the dust settles we’d love to have you come visit! Please watch for our open house announcement.

We will never forget our roots (as Community NHS) as an organization started by West Side citizens. Their purpose was to provide home improvement lending that was community-based. We will continue to provide these core services to the West Side as well as the rest of St. Paul and the surrounding communities. Moving our office to a residential neighborhood provides a different experience and connection to community that we believe will strengthen our service for all of Saint Paul.

We look forward to helping even more customers at our Dale Street office as they buy, build, fix, and keep their homes.

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Plan now to avoid financial disasters

You’re laid off at work. Your car needs a new transmission. Your furnace blows. These are all costly emergencies that can’t usually be anticipated and cannot be avoided once they occur. Without a fund set aside just for such emergencies, they can trigger even greater disasters.
Last year, NeighborWorks America released the findings of its third annual consumer finance survey. Chief among them is the alarming fact that nearly a third of adult Americans (29 percent) have no emergency savings. Ninety-one percent of those with incomes of $100,000 reported holding emergency savings, compared to just 30 percent of who earn less than $20,000, 63 percent of those with incomes below $40,000 and 78 percent of those with incomes between $40,000 -$50,000.

There also were significant differences by race and education. The highest percentages of households without any emergency savings at all were reported by African-Americans, adults with lower incomes, and among those with a high school education or less.

A good rule of thumb is to have enough funds set aside to cover three to six months (some say four to seven) of living expenses. This will give you enough time, for instance, to find a new job or supplement your unemployment benefits until you do. However, anything in the bank is better than nothing — and $500 will get you out of many scrapes that would otherwise put you in the hole. In other words, start small if you have to, but start.

Here are a few tips:

  • * Set up a savings account just for this purpose. Separate it from the accounts you tap into on a regular basis so you’re not tempted to dip into your reserves. Do not get access to it via debit card. And if you are issued a checkbook, hide it.
  • * Arrange the automatic deposit of a portion of your paycheck into that savings account. Most employers allow direct deposits into multiple accounts. This is the most painless way to create a regular savings habit; you won’t even notice it! But make sure you’ve created a realistic budget. Otherwise, you’ll be pulling money out of savings regularly to pay bills, defeating the purpose.
  • * Keep the change. When you get $1 and $5 bills after breaking a $20, drop some in a jar at home. When the jar fills up, move it into your savings account. And if you have money left after paying your bills at the end of a pay period, move some into your emergency fund.
  • * Save your tax refund. The average refund is in the thousands, which can give a good boost to your emergency savings. When you file your taxes, consider having your refund directly deposited into your emergency account. Alternatively, adjust your W-4 tax form so that you have less money withheld, and direct the extra into your emergency fund.
  • * Cut back on costs. If you’re still falling short on saving, track your spending for a month to find discretionary expenses you don’t really need. Meals out, stops at coffee shops, drinks with friends all add up fast, but you may not realize how much you’re spending in total until you’ve put it on paper.

Remember: Expenses you should be able to anticipate, such as holiday gifts and annual auto insurance payments, are not emergencies! One of the most common problems people have with emergency funds is forgetting to plan for one-time expenses each year.

Members of the NeighborWorks America network of nonprofit housing and community-development organizations offer financial education and coaching to help you follow these guidelines. Emergencies are upsetting enough. Don’t allow them to turn into financial catastrophes as well.

News Release: Wells Fargo commits $5 million to expand Twin Cities NeighborhoodLIFT program

Wells Fargo commits $5 million to expand Twin Cities NeighborhoodLIFT program

Eligible homebuyers can make an appointment now to apply for a matching down payment assistance grant up to $7,500 on June 10-11 at the Minneapolis Hyatt Regency

MINNEAPOLIS, May 10, 2016 – Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC), NeighborWorks® America and its network member NeighborWorks Home Partners today announced plans to expand the NeighborhoodLIFT® program with a $5 million commitment by Wells Fargo to help boost homeownership in the Twin Cities.

Wells Fargo first launched the NeighborhoodLIFT program in the Twin Cities in 2012 which created 422 homeowners by offering homebuyer education plus down payment assistance grants.  The 2016 Twin Cities NeighborhoodLIFT program will create about 450 additional homeowners with matching down payment assistance grants up to $7,500 for eligible homebuyers.

“Making homeownership more affordable will help hard-working families and individuals and strengthen neighborhoods within the Twin Cities,” said Joe Ravens, Wells Fargo’s Minnesota regional president. “While mortgages are available at relatively low interest rates, the NeighborhoodLIFT program can help families overcome the barrier of coming up with a sufficient down payment to buy a home.”

Interested homebuyers can attend the free homebuyer event on June 10-11 when eligibility will be determined for an opportunity to reserve a matching down payment assistance grant ranging from $2,500 up to $7500.

Registration for the NeighborhoodLIFT event on June 10-11

The Wells Fargo NeighborhoodLIFT program will begin with a free event on June 10-11 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Minneapolis Hyatt Regency located at 1300 Nicollet Mall. Prospective homebuyers can register at www.NeighborhoodLIFT.com or by calling (866) 858-2151. Pre-registration is strongly recommended for an opportunity to reserve a matching down payment assistance grant, although walk-ins will be welcome while funds are available. The event also includes a Wells Fargo Affordable Home Tour® viewing center where attendees can preview local homes available for purchase.  Matching down payment assistance grants will be based on the eligible homebuyer’s contribution.  Annual incomes must not exceed 80 percent of the local area median income, which in the Twin Cities is about $68,650 for a family of four, with income maximums varying depending on family size and type of loan.

Approved homebuyers will have up to 60 days to finalize a contract to purchase a home in either Minneapolis or St. Paul. To reserve the full grant amount, participants buying homes with the LIFT program must commit to live in the home for three years.

“This collaboration among NeighborWorks America, our network member NeighborWorks Home Partners, Wells Fargo and the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul will put more families and individuals on the path to homeownership,” said John Santner, regional vice president, Midwest Region with NeighborWorks America. “The required housing counseling and education classes provided by certified professionals have been shown to help people achieve their goals of buying a home.”

To be eligible, homebuyers must complete an eight-hour homebuyer education session with NeighborWorks Home Partners or another HUD-approved housing counseling agency.

“This collaboration between NeighborWorks America and Wells Fargo made a tremendous impact in Minneapolis and Saint Paul by helping more than 400 homebuyers achieve affordable and sustainable homeownership,” said Jason Peterson, executive director of NeighborWorks Home Partners. “We are excited to see NeighborhoodLIFT return and are ready to help more families through these down payment assistance grants and the support services we provide.”

Wells Fargo NeighborhoodLIFT program grants may be combined with other down payment assistance programs to provide additional financial benefit and homebuyers can obtain mortgage financing from any qualified lender.

The 2016 Twin Cities NeighborhoodLIFT follows a similar LIFT program that Wells Fargo introduced in 2012 with a $9 million commitment that created 422 homeowners and supported neighborhood revitalization efforts.  Since February 2012, LIFT programs combined have helped create nearly 11,500 homeowners in 42 communities. A video about LIFT programs is posted on Wells Fargo Stories.

About NeighborWorks Home Partners and NeighborWorks America
NeighborWorks Home Partners is a chartered member of NeighborWorks America, a national organization that creates opportunities for people to live in affordable homes, improve their lives and strengthen their communities. NeighborWorks America supports a network of more than 240 nonprofits, located in every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Visit www.neighborworks.org or www.nwhomepartners.org to learn more.

About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.8 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through 8,800 locations, 13,000 ATMs, the internet (wellsfargo.com) and mobile banking, and has offices in 36 countries to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 269,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 30 on Fortune’s 2015 rankings of America’s largest corporations. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. Wells Fargo perspectives are also available at Wells Fargo Blogs and Wells Fargo Stories.

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Saving is important, but many Americans have no plan in place.

NeighborWorks America’s annual Consumer Finance Survey showed that while many Americans think it’s important to save, only half have emergency savings to last longer than three months.

Some other highlights:

  • 28 percent of adult Americans have no emergency savings in place.
  • The most vulnerable are those with lower incomes, people of color, and relatively speaking, women and young adults.
  • 61 percent of adults do not follow a formal budget plan.

NeighborWorks Home Partners’ Financial Capabilities program and Homebuyer Pre-purchase Counseling both help individuals develop a spending and savings plan and housing budget to get them on track for a stable financial future. You can start anytime by calling 651-292-8710.

Financial Security Survey Results

Financial Security Survey Results

 

Some content provided by NeighborWorks America
For more than 35 years, NeighborWorks America, a national, nonpartisan nonprofit, has created opportunities for people to improve their lives and strengthen their communities by providing access to homeownership and to safe and affordable rental housing. In the last five years, NeighborWorks organizations have generated more than $24.5 billion in reinvestment in these communities. NeighborWorks America is the nation’s leading trainer of community development and affordable housing professionals

Six tips to empower renters for National Consumer Protection Week and all year

As we approach National Consumer Protection Week March 6-12, renters nationwide must protect themselves as consumers and make informed decisions. According to NeighborWorks America, following six tips can make renting a lot easier and less stressful for many.

1. Avoid rental listing scams.
Scammers often advertise rentals that don’t exist or aren’t available, often known as phantom rentals, to trick people into sending money before they find out the truth. Signs you may have encountered a scam include a person telling you to wire money or they want the security deposit or first month’s rent before you’ve met or signed a lease. Report a scam by contacting local law enforcement and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

2. Get your finances and credit in shape.
Protect your money and pay as little as you can for the apartment you want by strengthening your credit. Nearly half of renters are paying more than 30 percent of their incomes in rent, according to a recent report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. Financial counseling helps individuals strengthen their credit, establish savings goals that lead toward having enough for a security deposit and overall helps to improve credit scores. A good credit score is important because most landlords use a credit check to vet potential renters. NeighborWorks Home Partners homebuyer education and counseling and financial capabilities can help you develop a budget and improve your finances.

3. Consider renter’s insurance.
Avoiding scams and strengthening your credit are important. It’s also important to protect what you have from loss or accidental damage.

Renter’s insurance protects the valuables inside your home whether you’re living in an apartment or renting a house. If there were an incident like a fire or water leak, a landlord’s insurance will cover the building itself but you would still need to replace your own property if it were damaged.

4. Select a moving company carefully.
If your friends or family are not assisting with the move, research moving companies and find a trustworthy one. Read online reviews and check social media, along with asking friends and family for a recommendation. The right moving company can make your relocation go smoothly. Get estimates from a few moving companies to compare prices.
5. Decide between a managed property or renting from a landlord.
Service expectations and peace of mind vary from person to person. Weigh the pros and cons of both options — and each has plenty. You can contact someone easily working with a managed property, for a maintenance issue such as a leaky sink.  But with an individual landlord, sometimes you have more flexibility in negotiating rent.

6. Act like a homeowner.
It’s a good idea to act like you will live there for a few years, as doing so will help you ask good questions. For example, how old are the appliances? While you’re asking good questions, doublecheck that you do want to rent versus own and compare prices and long-term investment of each route you could take. For example, at a time when rising home prices and rental rates are halting many people’s housing plans, manufactured housing can provide an affordable option. The newer models may be more energy-efficient and therefore save on utility costs.

Content provided by NeighborWorks America
For more than 35 years, NeighborWorks America, a national, nonpartisan nonprofit, has created opportunities for people to improve their lives and strengthen their communities by providing access to homeownership and to safe and affordable rental housing. In the last five years, NeighborWorks organizations have generated more than $24.5 billion in reinvestment in these communities. NeighborWorks America is the nation’s leading trainer of community development and affordable housing professionals

Creatively Thinking About Food and Community

CREATE: The Community Meal logo

Yesterday, on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in St. Paul’s Frogtown neighborhood, I shared a meal with nearly 2000 people at a half-mile long table that spanned several blocks along Victoria Street. I knew a small handful of people there, but by and large, this was a meal shared intentionally with strangers. The menu was comprised of a delicious medley of garden salad, cornbread, chicken, black beans with rice, cooked greens, and apple cider. The event was called CREATE: The Community Meal, and was a work of public art by St. Paul artist Seitu Jones. It has been at least two years in the making, and was made successful due to collaboration from community organizations, design teams, chefs, and community volunteers.

The truly amazing thing about this meal is that it was sourced completely locally, with the who-traveled-the-furthest-to-get-here award going to the two-year-old chickens that came from Northfield, Minnesota. The rest of the produce came from farms located both in the neighborhood and just outside of the city, which goes to show just how far sustainably and locally grown food can really go. It shows that food doesn’t need to be mass-produced in factories that give no regard for the health of their consumers, the well-being of the environment, or the livelihood of communities. And it shows that the upsurge of urban and community farms really can make a huge impact on our definition of food and our understanding of community.

That was the other wildly impressive element of the day – the element of community. Two-thousand people coming from within and outside of the neighborhood to share a meal at a single table. People of all different backgrounds, races, socio-economic groups, ages, levels of education, dietary habits, you-name-it, coming together to eat the same food at the same table, sparking intentional discussion with strangers about the way we think about and consume food, and how we could improve this everyday practice. At the beginning of the meal, we asked questions in unison: Who are we? What do we love? What do we share? Simple questions, really, but ones that we probably don’t ask ourselves often enough, and ones that, if answered, might really make a difference in our perception of how we relate to the people around us. And at the end of the meal, we each wrote down our own personal food resolutions on the placemats that were made from recycled materials and grass clippings from around the neighborhood (cool fact: they were made at different points in the year, so some were greener and others were more brown in hue… talk about being aware of where things come from). Mine was something along the lines of, “Eat food that was grown and made honestly, and share meals with others as much as possible,” accompanied by tablemates who said things like, “Don’t eat standing up or on the go” and “Grow as much of your own food as possible, and know where your food comes from.” In a culture where mindless eating is so easy, it is so important to take the time to place value both on our food and the people with whom we share it.

A Table for 2000

While I certainly won’t be arranging a meal for two thousand people anytime soon, attending this event has inspired me to take some little actions in my own life. For example, I live in a four unit apartment in Minneapolis, and I don’t know the other people in my building. I know one of the cats that lives across the hall, but none of his humans. Isn’t that a little ridiculous? If I can share a meal with 2000 people, it should certainly be a reasonable responsibility to get to know the people with whom I share my shelter.

So, whether “neighbors” means people with whom you share a building, a street, a city (or in my case yesterday, the next city over), get to know them, grow and create things with them, and whether it is with two people or two-thousand, make it a point to share with one another whatever it is you can give.

-Laura Willodson, AmeriCorps VISTA

Community NHS and Greater Frogtown CDC Announce Merger and Name Change

ST. PAUL, MN — Two Saint Paul nonprofits dedicated to improving housing and homeownership announced their planned merger on Saturday, June 7, at a community fair jointly sponsored by the organizations.  At their “It’s So Easy Being Green” fair, a NeighborWorks Week 2014 activity, Community Neighborhood Housing Services (Community NHS) and Greater Frogtown Community Development Corporation (GFCDC) unveiled their plans to merge the two organizations and operate under a new name, NeighborWorks Home Partners.

Under the planned merger, both existing office locations will be preserved.  All staff and existing lines of business will be retained as well, with staff relocating to provide increased variety of services at the GFCDC offices at 533 North Dale Street. These services will include homebuyer preparation and education and foreclosure mitigation counseling.  Home improvement lending and construction management services will remain at both locations as well.  Some merger processes are in progress, with all transitions to be complete by October 1, 2014.

The organizations carefully approached the merger possibility and found that it was a good combination both in terms of strengthening both organizations, increasing the services that are offered, and better serving the residents of Frogtown, Saint Paul, and the surrounding metropolitan area as a whole.

Chris Albrecht, Chairperson of the Board of Directors for Community NHS, noted that the merger was an exciting opportunity for the community. “Our combined efforts will maximize the resources of both organizations, and bring more services under one roof – preserving a strong presence in Frogtown and bringing more access to residents along the Green Line for successful and stable homeownership.”

Local elected officials were present to support the work of both organizations.

Ramsey County Commissioner Janice Rettman said, “Greater Frogtown CDC’s success is the collective commitment that Frogtown residents are the key decision makers.  The dedicated staff carries the message one-on-one assuring Frogtown’s resilient historic tapestry of housing and housing improvements continue.”

The Frogtown neighborhood is one of the hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis and is still feeling the impact. The merger of the two organizations will make HUD-approved housing counseling and foreclosure mitigation services more accessible within the neighborhood.

“I am excited by the fact we continue to make progress under stressful economic downturn and small businesses that were uprooted by construction of the Green Line. There is much work left to do toward full recovery, but we wouldn’t be here without the support of Frogtown CDC, and all of its partner organizations,” said City of Saint Paul Ward 1 Councilmember Dai Thao.

Included in the merger is a name change – Community NHS and eventually the combined organization will be known as NeighborWorks Home Partners.  NeighborWorks is a national organization comprising 235 local affiliates.  Community NHS is a NeighborWorks Chartered Member, one of the organizations formed almost 35 years ago when the national group was founded.  In 2013, the NeighborWorks network generated more than $5.8 billion in total direct investment and helped­­­­ 300,000 individuals and families with affordable housing and counseling.

In the governance of the combined organization, there will be 5 Board of Directors positions (of 15) reserved for residents of the Frogtown neighborhood.  In addition, a resident advisory committee will be created for Frogtown residents to provide direction and input into the organization’s programming and services.

The community fair was held at the garden at the GFCDC offices and featured many neighborhood organizations partnering to provide resources and education for healthy homes and communities.  Frogtown Neighborhood Association, Frogtown Farm, Frogtown-Rondo Home Fund, Youth Farm, Eureka Recycling, MN Green Building Council, Springboard for the Arts, Neighborhood Energy Connection, and Ramsey County Public Health shared information and activities on composting, gardening, keeping children safe from lead, energy efficiency, and more.

The event was part of NeighborWorks Week 2014, during which NeighborWorks organizations across the country will mobilize tens of thousands of residents, business people and government officials in a week of neighborhood change and awareness. This year NeighborWorks Week takes place from June 7 – 15 in 44 states and Puerto Rico.

 

About Community NHS

Community Neighborhood Housing Services (CNHS) is a community based nonprofit organization located in Saint Paul, MN.  Specializing in foreclosure prevention, home improvement loans, and new homeowner education, CNHS serves the seven-county metro area with special program emphasis in the city of Saint Paul.    The organization currently provides services in English and in Hmong.  More information is available at www.communitynhs.org

 

About Greater Frogtown Community Development Corporation

Greater Frogtown CDC was created in 1995 by community stakeholders to address housing disinvestment, deteriorating conditions, and vacant lots.  Since 1995, GFCDC has brought more than $50 million in investment in home improvement loans and grants, single family housing development, affordable rental housing, and multi-family housing.  http://greaterfrogtowncdc.org/

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Now Recruiting: Community NHS is seeking two AmeriCorps VISTA members

Community Neighborhood Housing Services is now accepting applications for two AmeriCorps VISTA members to engage the residents of Saint Paul’s Frogtown neighborhood to connect with our services, increase participation, and enhance our programming and delivery for this community.

Community NHS is a chartered member of NeighborWorks America. We are a full-service homeownership center dedicated to creating homeowners and building community by helping people buy, fix, and keep their homes. We provide homebuyer education, one-on-one advice for people preparing to buy, home improvement financing and construction management, and foreclosure prevention counseling. We have served Saint Paul and the surrounding metropolitan area for over three decades.

AmeriCorps VISTA is a federal program. VISTA national service members are committed to bringing individuals and communities out of poverty by building capacity and providing indirect service. The VISTA member handbook outlines the benefits and duties of serving as a VISTA members.  These include:

  • Work full-time (40 hours/week), August 12, 2014 – August 14, 2015.
  • Receive a living allowance of approximately $983/month (before taxes).
  • Choose to receive either an education award (approximately $5,550) or a cash stipend (approximately $1500) upon completion of your year of service.
  • Receive basic health benefits; child care support may be available.
  • Upon completion of service, receive one year of noncompetitive eligibility for Federal Service positions.
  • Receive high-quality professional development and training through the VISTA program as well as Community NHS/NeighborWorks.
  • Receive a total of 20 paid days off (10 sick days + 10 personal days), in addition to Community NHS holidays.

We are accepting applications IMMEDIATELY and will review applications on a rolling basis.  Applications should be received no later than Friday, June 6, 2014.

The positions have some duties in common, especially pertaining to neighborhood outreach, but will also be assigned individual projects. Please look at both listings to decide which is the best match for your passions and skillset.

Resident Engagement I (outreach and resident advisory committee)

Resident Engagement II (outreach and new service development)

Four Ways Veterans Can Benefit by Working With a Housing Counselor

In an effort to improve the homeownership and financial planning outcomes of active duty service members and veterans, Jason Peterson, executive director of Community Neighborhood Housing Services, today emphasized the benefits of working with nonprofit housing counselors and nonprofit financial capability coaches when considering homeownership.

Community NHS is a member of NeighborWorks America, a national nonprofit corporation that provides financial and technical assistance support to more than 235 NeighborWorks organizations around the country.  A recent NeighborWorks study found that homeownership is a major goal for veterans and their families. According to the survey, 92 percent of veterans said that homeownership was an important part of their American Dream. And by a nearly three-to-two margin (49 percent to 32 percent), veterans today feel prepared to buy a home.

Against this backdrop, Peterson identified four reasons that service members and their qualified family members considering homeownership or financial planning should work with a housing counselor. Among the most important is that taking advantage of nonprofit housing counseling and education could help reduce the significantly higher mortgage delinquency rate seen among borrowers with mortgages backed by a Department of Veterans Affairs guaranty.

Buyers are better informed

With home prices rising in nearly every market across the United States, and mortgage rates on the increase, too, active duty service members, veterans and eligible spouses have the unique opportunity to purchase a home with a zero down payment because of the 100 percent borrowing ability enabled by a home loan backed by a Veterans Affairs guaranty.

“A zero percent down payment mortgage could be a great way for those who qualify to achieve homeownership,” said Peterson.  “But there’s more to buying a home than having enough money for the down payment. It’s extremely important to be trained in the home buying process and to know how to avoid potential risks. That’s where Community NHS and the NeighborWorks network, along with other nonprofit housing counseling agencies, add tremendous value.  We provide step-by-step information on everything from how to pick a real estate agent to guidance on saving money through home energy efficiency. ”

Although 49 percent feel prepared to buy a home, nearly one third do not.  Community NHS regularly offers opportunities to all potential homebuyers – whether confident or cautious –  to learn how to make the best decision for them when choosing to buy a home.

Default risks reduced

One of the major downside risks of homeownership is delinquency that could lead to foreclosure. Default and foreclosure damage a homeowner’s credit, cause extra stress and could lead to poor financial decisions — such as falling prey to a mortgage loan modification scam — that have the potential produce even worse financial outcomes.

“Based on data from the credit reporting company Experian, we know homebuyer education and counseling is effective at helping to reduce serious mortgage delinquency,” said Peterson. “There are many factors that could lead to delinquency and default, but one thing that seems to help reduce the risk of default is the kind of housing counseling and education that is offered by Community NHS.”

Access to Closing Cost Assistance

VA mortgage eligible homebuyers have the opportunity to include their closing costs into the overall mortgage amount borrowed. Although closing costs vary from location to location, they typically are several thousand dollars. But what if VA borrower who may have little cash saved didn’t want to borrow the closing costs as well as the money needed to purchase the house. What’s the solution?

“There are a number of ways that working with a nonprofit housing counselor could help a VA mortgage borrower raise closing costs,” explained Peterson. “Helping potential homeowners secure down payment and closing cost assistance grants is a staple of (insert name of organization) and other nonprofits members of the NeighborWorks network. While each assistance program has different terms and conditions, the best way to determine eligibility is to work with one of our nonprofit housing counselors.”

Connect With a Financial Coach

According to Tasha Merritt, a counselor and Homeownership Center Manager for Community NHS, a growing number of nonprofit housing counseling organizations like Community NHS are adding to the skill-sets of their staffs by adding certification as financial capability coaches.

“Financial capability coaches help everyone establish a plan to meet their financial goals, whether that’s to achieve homeownership or another goal such as decreasing credit card balances or increasing savings,” said Merritt.

Research from a recent project between the Citi Foundation and NeighborWorks America found that that people who received financial coaching significantly improved their savings habits, enhanced their credit scores and meaningfully paid down debts.

“Nonprofit housing counselors who also are certified financial coaches are a key asset for service members to connect to,” said Merritt. “The bottom line is that whether a homebuyer is using a VA mortgage or not, our counselors are here for active duty service members and veterans to help them achieve their financial goals.”

About Community NHS

Community Neighborhood Housing Services (CNHS) is a community based nonprofit organization located in Saint Paul, MN.  Specializing in foreclosure prevention, home improvement loans, and new homeowner education, CNHS serves the seven-county metro area with special program emphasis in the city of Saint Paul.    The organization currently provides services in English and in Hmong.  More information is available at www.communitynhs.org