Group Finds Success Moving Families Into Own Homes
By Marcus Washington
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - One midstate organization has helped more families move from public housing into their own homes than many government assistance programs.
Charmaine Bostic is one of hundreds of people who are now home owners. She is a graduate of Christian Community Services Incorporated – or CCSI. She says taught her how to save and buy a home with her four children.
"Learning the difference between a need and a want. If it's something you want, do you really need it?" said Bostic.
The CCSI program started in 1997 when ministers at Schrader Lane and Woodmont Hills Churches of Christ wanted to address the weaknesses in public assistance programs. Their vision was to create a community where no one was underserved and all everyone could achieve self-sufficiency.
"When given the appropriate information, the right support and the patient nurturing, they can do just about anything anybody else can do," said CCSI co-founder, Dr. David Jones, Jr.
Through classes three nights a week for more than a year-and-a-half, students get financial training, mentoring on independence, and financial counseling. Mentors are all volunteers and typically stay with the program for one year. Dr. Jones said the program is so time consuming for a mentor, they only ask for one year of service. He said this allows the volunteers time so they won't get burned out for their helping.
The program started with one employee and 85 volunteers. Now there are five employees and 130 volunteers.
"These [mentors] recruited out of the churches are stable and have gone trough our training," said Jones.
Each family has a personal mentor who helps them through the program. Dr. Jones said it's more than giving them information, but walking with each family and teaching them how to follow through. He said some of the students are third generations on the receiving end of public housing and assistance.
Since 2007, 104 families have graduated from the program and have bought homes. During that time, not one home has been foreclosed.
The program helps families achieve independence by matching $2 for every $1 to $5,000 saved by the families. The money can only be to buy a home, start a business (with a business plan presented) or going back to college. Currently, 25 students who did not graduate from high school are back in school earning their masters degree.
If you need help or would like to help CCSI, call the office 615-297-4024 and as for Patrick Johnson. Christian Community Services, Inc is located at 601 Benton Avenue, Nashville, TN 37204.
Wednesday, May 22 2013 12:04 AM EDT2013-05-22 04:04:23 GMT
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