Program looks to turn renters into home owners - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Program looks to turn renters into home owners

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April 9, 2008

Albany-  A 15 year old program has taken a new turn and encourages Dougherty County residents to buy into their community by becoming homeowners.

The Family Self Sufficiency Program helps people use government housing assistance to buy homes instead of just rent. Mayor Willie Adams says home ownership improves the city. Now an Albany woman will serve as the spokeswoman for the program that's going statewide.

Tiffany Conley just celebrated her first anniversary in a home with her name on the mortgage. It was a tough decision to transition from renter to homeowner five years ago when she started the Family Self Sufficiency Program.

"I wanted to make a change and I wanted to own a home owner and I had a child also and I was struggling basically going to school, trying to work, and make an income," said Tiffany Conley, a new homeowner.

Already a rental assistance client under Section eight, F.S.S. provided help with her rent and school credits and at times it was tough. "I got a little discouraged as far as how the process had to go," said Conley.

Tiffany's encouraging others to go through the credit counseling, to quit taking advantage of the Section 8 system, and to use it to take stock in the community. Home ownership helps better a community.

"No question about it. Each degree of success like we've seen here today improves the community and the most important thing about this young lady is she can motivate other ladies who are in a similar situation as she is," said Mayor Willie Adams who also serves as Chairman of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs Board.

In fact, the program will be expanded from nine counties to state wide. It comes at a time when many homeowners are struggling with foreclosure, not so under F.S.S.

"Our foreclosure rate through the Department of Community Affairs our home ownership program has declined each of the last five years and is actually half of what the state as a whole is," said Commissioner Mike Beatty, Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

Tiffany Conley says if she can do it, others single mothers can, too. It's already made a difference in her seven year old son's life, giving him, for the first time, his own bedroom.

You must meet income guidelines and be enrolled in the section eight rental assistance program to qualify for the Family Self Sufficiency Program.

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