Low-income homeownership program to unveil new homes

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 26, 2009

By David Vitrano

BOUTTE—For a few families in St. Charles Parish, a dream that once seemed out of reach is about to become a reality.

On Tuesday, they will officially become homeowners.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held in Boutte Estates Park to commemorate the special occasion.

Although the realization of such a dream may seem unlikely in the present economy, the help of the USDA and Family Resources of New Orleans has made it possible.

Family Resources of New Orleans has been helping underprivileged area families enter “mainstream” society since 1997, when they began assisting families in the Treme neighborhood of New Orleans. At that time their focus was providing families with the necessary skills to enter the workplace. Since then, they have branched out and now also aid families in areas such as financial counseling and homeownership.

Since that time they also opened a River Parishes office in Boutte.

Under the Self-Help Housing Program, which is administered jointly by Family Resources of New Orleans and the USDA, low-income families are able to obtain very low-interest loans and save a portion of the total cost by investing in “sweat equity.” Families who take part in the program are required to put in at least 35 hours per week working on their new homes.

In addition to helping the families attain loans and property, Family Resources of New Orleans provides pre- and post-purchase counseling and homebuyers training.

To date, the group has helped complete the building of a half-dozen homes in St. Charles Parish with four more presently under construction.

While Family Resources of New Orleans’ River Parishes office aids families throughout the region, home construction thus far has been limited to St. Charles. According to Tish Parquet, construction coordinator, high property prices in St. John the Baptist have prevented the group from building homes in St. john, but it is something Family Resources has on their radar.

The ribbon cutting will take place at three locations in the 100 block of Boutte Estates Drive starting at 11:15 a.m. on Tuesday.

For more information about Family Resources of New Orleans and the Self-Help Housing Program call their River Parishes office at 985-785-0454 or visit their Web site at familyresourcesofno.org.