July 8, 2008
Lowndes County - A Lowndes County couple recently moved into a home of their own thanks to the Community HOME Investment Program or CHIP.
It provides down payment assistance and housing rehabilitation to eligible families.
County officials hope it will help more people find a place to call home.
Disabilities and income have kept William and Margo Branham from buying a home, but not from dreaming they'd one day have a place of their own.
"So we were living at home. My mom had a home but I wanted my own home," William says.
Their dream came true when they found out about the CHIP grant, a program offered through Lowndes County that can give prospective homeowners up to $14,000 for a down payment.
"If you can get that first down payment then that's a hand up and we've been able to get them that first down payment so they can move out of rental housing and into a home of their own," says County Commissioner J Edgar Roberts.
The Branhams applied for and were the first family in the county to receive the grant. Coupled with another grant, they received nearly $30,000 to purchase a home.
Together the grants allowed the Branhams to purchase this home and provide them with affordable monthly payments."
"We are making $297.15 payments on this house. Normally, you'd pay at least $500 or $600 dollars or more," William says.
They just moved into this three bedroom, two bathroom home in the southern part of the county.
"We are truly blessed. To walk around and realize this is ours!" Margo tells us.
"I just broke down because it took us so long to do this and this is a tremendous blessing from God," William adds.
And for the Branham's, home has never seemed so sweet.
Roberts says he expects five more families to close on CHIP homes this week.
The County received $300,000 to distribute to families in Lowndes County.
Anyone interested is encouraged to call Carmella Braswell at (229) 671-2430, as funds are still available.
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