A decade after the housing market collapsed, a new survey reveals that many people are unaware of resources and counseling that can improve their prospects of owning their own home. Housing counseling offered by NeighborWorks Rochester helps close to 150 residents annually achieve their goal of buying a home, and could do so for many others who have the same dream.
Joanne Panarisi-Bottone, Executive Director of NeighborWorks Rochester states, “Our goal is to ensure that first-time homebuyers make informed decisions based on their personal finances, goals and dreams. Our coach approach supports sustainable homeownership for both the individuals and the community by working with individuals to create a clear path, remove obstacles, and avoid the many pitfalls that a first-time buyer may encounter, such as predatory lending.” Neighborworks Rochester is an affiliate of NeighborWorks Community Partners, a member of the NeighborWorks America national network.
The sixth annual NeighborWorks America at Home survey found that people with the most debt –millennials and women—are less likely to be homeowners, and large numbers would like to be, but don’t know where to turn for help in achieving their dream.
Among the findings:
- Women: 29 percent of women have student loan debt, compared to 23 percent of men. Fifty percent of women worry about this type of debt all or most of the time.
- People of color: 48 percent of people of color are burdened with student loan debt, compared to 22 percent of white women and 15 percent of white men.
- Millennials: 56 percent of millennials worry about student loan debt some or most of the time.
- Overall awareness of help available: 46 percent of all adults are unfamiliar with nonprofits that offer debt counseling for free or at a low cost.
“It’s important for people to have the proper tools and resources so they are informed consumers from the moment they consider owning a home,” says Karen Hoskins, acting vice president of homeownership programs and lending at NeighborWorks America. “A housing counselor can guide them through what often seems a daunting, confusing process. Consumers also will benefit by thinking about housing counselors as helpful sources of information about services such as down-payment assistance.”