The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has awarded NeighborWorks Montana $443,184. NeighborWorks Montana is the only direct HUD grantee in the state of Montana receiving the HUD housing counseling grant and will disburse that money to its partner network of 15 community organizations across the state delivering housing education and counseling services to Montanans.
The HUD housing counseling and education money benefits Montanans who might not otherwise be able to achieve the goal of homeownership. In 2011, at 33 years old, Lori found herself in a situation she never thought she would be in – she was a single mom of three young boys with a significant amount of debt and a lack of hope for her future. She realized she wanted more for herself than living with her kids in a basement apartment. This realization set her on an 8-year journey toward homeownership. Lori got a couple of jobs and did everything she could to make ends meet. It took several years, but she paid off $20,000 of debt, got a 2-bedroom apartment, and continued to save as much as she possibly could. Earlier this year, Lori found herself in a position where she was finally able to start thinking about purchasing a home. Her lender Lynn Stenerson at Stockman Bank recommended the first-time homebuyer class at Homeword. Lori said, “Between my lender Lynn, and Julie Pavlish at Homeword, owning a home became an attainable goal. I suppose I just needed it broken into manageable pieces, and that’s what my homebuyer education class did for me. It’s been 8 years since I started out with less than nothing, and now here I am. I own my own home. For me, buying this house is a very tangible marker of how far I’ve come, and what I am capable of. I think we all need those tangible markers sometimes and a few people to help us along the way.”
Kaia Peterson, NeighborWorks Montana’s Assistant Director said, “As the price of homes in many Montana markets continues to rise, homeownership feels increasingly out of reach. Fortunately, with quality education and counseling, and affordable financing homeownership is actually still within reach for people like Lori and so many others across the state. Housing counseling and education is vital to keeping homeownership accessible, available and attainable for all Montanans, and this funding is critical to sustain that program. We encourage anyone interested in becoming a homeowner to contact one of our housing partners and access all of the great resources available to anyone working toward achieving this goal.”