Potential homeowners get help at fair

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 12, 2014

By Monique Roth

LAPLACE – St. John the Baptist Parish residents recently got a crash course in everything home-related at a housing event that was held at the St. John Civic Center.  

St. John Parish, together with Family Resources of New Orleans, hosted a Housing Fair on Jan. 25, in hopes of educating local families about the possibilities of home ownership. More than 100 people attended the event.

Councilman Marvin Perrilloux said the Parish Council hoped the fair would provide information on home ownership to area residents who currently do not own a home.

Perrilloux said the Housing Fair was the first one offered in St. John Parish, and the council is hoping to have one on the west bank of the parish in the next couple of months.

Tish Parquet, construction and group coordinator for FRNO, said the St. John Parish Council worked very diligently with FRNO to bring the event to the area.

The four-hour event included multiple educational sessions, including buying a home, credit repair, mortgage programs for first-time buyers and selling your property.

Besides attendees being able to talk one-on-one with real estate and mortgage professionals, St. John Parish introduced the USDA Mutual Self Help Housing Program administered by Family Resources, where qualified residents can build their homes for as little as 1 percent interest rate. 

This program is for low-to-moderate income families and can also assist with removing blighted properties left behind by recent hurricanes.

Parquet explained that with the Mutual Self Help Housing Program, residents of St. Charles or St. John parishes could actually help to build their homes by contributing upwards of 30 hours a week to the construction of their future house. The cost savings of doing work themselves gives the future homeowner “sweat equity,” which helps to keep the cost of construction at a minimum.