• By Todd Luck
  • Posted Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Home ownership program celebrates its 40th class and first business graduate

Experiment in Self-Reliance (ESR) and Forsyth County Community and Economic Development celebrated 16 new graduates last week in the New Century IDA financial literacy program that helps participants buy a home or grow their business.

The event on Wednesday, Jan. 16, at ESR celebrated the program’s 40th graduating class. Participants in ESR’s year-long New Century IDA (Individual Development Account) program for home ownership attended monthly classes and met with a Success Coach to learn how to budget, save money, reduce debt and increase credit scores with the goal of buying a home. This year added a business component, which helps entrepreneurs create a plan to sustain and grow their business.

The county’s Community and Economic Development Department provides down payment assistance to the potential homeowners. After a participant has saved $1,500, the county contributes $2,000 for the first $1,000 saved. It also lends up to $20,000 in down payment assistance through the first time homeowners program of the N.C. Housing Finance Agency, that the recipient won’t have to pay back unless they move. The department also provides $8,000 for business participants who save $2,000.

More than 660 people have been helped through the program since it began in 1999. County housing programs have generated nearly $100 million in investment in the community.

“There’s no greater supporter than the county commissioners of Forsyth County, they’ve been instrumental in funding ESR and ourselves for 20 years,” said Community and Economic Development Director Dan Kornelis.

Commissioner Fleming El-Amin was the event’s keynote speaker. He congratulated the graduates on their hard work.

“The sacrifices that you’ve just made, have prepared you for a lifetime of success,” said El-Amin.

Graduates also heard from those who’ve been through the program and successfully purchased a home.

“What the IDA did for me, was it taught me that even though my credit wasn’t up to par, that I still had the opportunity and the chance to get it there,” said Prior IDA Graduate Alice Everett.

Home owner graduates were Chasidy Barr, Faith Barlett, Jermisha Boss, Felicia Brinson, Brittany Calhoun, Tira Clark, Cierra Clyburn, Jakia Fareed, Gina Holland, Djibril Lo, Yashika Nichols, Jasmine Poindexter, Andrea Raynor, Faith Springs and Marie Wilds. The business owner graduate was Erin Copeland, owner of Ease Wellness Center.

Other partners in the program are BB&T, Center for Homeownership, City of Winston-Salem Community Development, Department of Social Services, Experiment in Self Reliance, Inc, Financial Pathways of the Piedmont, Housing Authority of Winston-Salem and United Way of Forsyth County. The class was sponsored by BB&T and The Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem.

For more information or to sign up for a future IDA class, contact Patricia Casey at (336) 722-9400 or patricia.casey@esir.org or visit ESR’s site at www.eisr.org.

For more photos from the event, click here.

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