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$225,000 BRS grant aimed at possible future homeowners

Blue River Services has received a $225,000 grant from the Indiana Housing Finance Authority to provide homeownership counseling and downpayment assistance for about 49 households in Harrison County.
The IHFA grant will be used to counsel participants in their purchase of a home and to extend counseling services after the initial purchase to ensure success in the pursuit of homeownership.
Priority will be given to homeless women, persons with developmental disabilities, persons with physical disabilities, single-parent households, and elderly persons.
Harrison County Community Services will serve as the “subrecipient” for the grant, and will administer the services the grant will provide.
“They are fiscally responsible; we are doing client services,” said Shirley Hawkins, director of Harrison County Community Services. “We will be providing the program support and direct services to the clients.”
Community Services will provide homeownership counseling. This includes budget counseling, credit review, credit improvement assistance and education in home maintenance and repair, as well as case management.
BRS will provide the infrastructure for the homeownership program, but Community Services will essentially administer the program, said Judy Hall, BRS chief financial officer.
BRS applied for the grant because it is the designated community housing development organization for Harrison County, Hawkins said. Step Ahead, a state-legislated body for planning for children and family services, designated BRS to take the lead in Harrison County housing developments.
Hawkins said Community Services has certified housing counselors to aid clients, and it has extensive experience with budget counseling, making this a “perfect match” between BRS and Community Services.
“It’s a long-term partnership,” Hawkins said.
As the grantee, BRS expects to begin receiving funds in mid-October to early November.
“The grant will fund the services for two years,” Hawkins said. “It takes a while, to move people from almost homeless to homeowners … Some may be almost ready, depending on where they are in that continuum.”
The people assisted by this grant will purchase homes in Harrison County, Hall said, and receive downpayment assistance based on their incomes. The down payment assistance funds may be used for closing costs, inspections, one-time mortgage insurance premiums, and direct mortgage financing.
Community Services is now working with people who were on a waiting list to get assistance with housing needs. Interested persons can contact Pamela Dunn at 738-8143.