HomeOwnership Center gets $5,000, expands

The HomeOwnership Center has received a $5,000 grant from First Niagara to help fund its homeownership education and counseling programs. Center officials also announced that it’s expanding its territory.

Donations from lending institutions such as First Niagara help develop and enhance existing education and counseling programs at the HomeOwnership Center in Utica that "build strong communities and empower residents to make educated financial decisions," the Center noted.

A member of the national NeighborWorks network, the Center is expanding its affordable housing, foreclosure prevention and community development activities in three more counties.

"We are extremely pleased that we are now able to offer our community services, such as Homebuyer Education, Foreclosure Intervention Counseling and Housing Rehabilitation Programs, to the populations of Fulton, Otsego and Montgomery counties," said Chief Executive Officer Janice Forte. "Our valuable services provide assistance and education to residents who are looking to purchase homes, stay in their homes, or make their neighborhoods a better place to live."

In Oneida, Herkimer and Madison counties, the Center has invested more than $94 million dollars over the last 17 years. In the 2011, the Center invested nearly $18 million, provided homeownership counseling to more than 1,300 families, assisted 70 families in achieving home ownership, rehabilitated more than 80 homes and provided more than 300 property evaluations.

Chartered in 1979, NeighborWorks runs programs such as Home Buyer Education, Financial Literacy and Pre-purchase Counseling as an effort to help serve low- to moderate-income families.

For information on educational classes or one-on-one counseling for existing or prospective homeowners, call 724-4197 or visit www.thehomeownershipcenter.org.