Monroe Journal March 27, 2016
ABERDEEN – In the past few weeks, two home-building projects on South Poplar Street across from the Old Aberdeen Cemetery have sprung up quickly as part of an affordable housing initiative city leaders have pushed during this administration. The board of aldermen March 15 heard first-hand from representatives of an organization helping the dream of home ownership become a reality.
“We’re working with five more people interested in owning homes and working diligently with the people of Aberdeen who want to own a home,” said LaTonya Reed, public administrator with Healthy Transitions Development Group Inc. “We’re holding their hand and walking them through the process. A lot of them don’t understand the process, and we’re trying to make it transparent for them.”
Olive Branch-based Healthy Transitions is a nonprofit that specializes in revitalizing communities and helping the underserved achieve home ownership. Successful qualifiers can apply for grants as much as $25,000 to go toward a down payment, and closing cost assistance is available. There are also special programs for low-income families, disabled people, police officers and teachers.
“We work with them on credit issues and give them financial knowledge. We want them to get in their home and not have to worry about it being foreclosed on,” Reed said. “We’re trying to sway people away from renting. We tell them if you can afford to rent a home, you can afford to buy.”
WTVA-TV March 17, 2016
WREG-TV November 24, 2015
NORTH MISSISSIPPI -- There's nothing like unlocking the front door to your own home. But for many who don't meet the financial criteria, the home buying process can turn the American dream into a nightmare. People are getting help from an Olive Branch organization that's turning vacant land into home sweet home all the way to Batesville.
One shovel of dirt at a time. It's the first step in building a home.
"Is this real? Am I really going to become a home owner? And you look them in the face and say, 'of course,'" said LaTonya Reed, consultant with Healthy Transitions Development Group. The Olive Branch based non-profit helps smooth the often complicated road to owning a home. Specialists work with the State of Mississippi and the Federal Government to find money for down payments and closing costs.
"Many folks do need some time to work through some issues they may have. And without the resources available with Healthy Transitions and other grassroots organizations, our job would be that much more difficult," said Blane Breland, USDA Housing Specialist.
Tuesday morning Healthy Transitions broke ground on its fourth home project in Batesville, this one for a single mom and her son. That brings the number of homes the organization built or is building to 30.
Regina Curtis just moved into her new home in Olive Branch with the help of Healthy Transitions Development Group. "I'm so excited. I'm very pleased with the things that Healthy Transitions walked me through. I'm very pleased with house. I love my house...I love, love it," said Curtis. She said she was hesitant to go through the home buying process, but is glad she made the move for her sake and her two sons.
And it may be a while before the new home takes shape on the vacant Batesville lot, but Reed said more than the landscape will be impacted. "Some of these people have come from a background where no one in their family has ever owned a home before. And they are the first generation to own their very own home. Now, we're changing generations to come,"she said.
WATN - LOCAL MEMPHIS December 2, 2014
Antonio Abram has a passion for people. He believes the feeling of pride that comes with home ownership can transform a family.
"That is my opportunity to give back," Abram said.
Abram owns Abram Construction. Building high end homes all across the Mid-South.
But he is most passionate about being involved with a non-profit called Healthy Transitions Development Group. Healthy Transitions helps low and moderate income families navigate the often confusing process of building a home. "It's very important that they be a part of the process so they'll know what to do and what not to do,"
Healthy transitions also helps people like Jamillah Cook clean up their credit and apply for grants. Up to $25,000 toward the purchase of a new home. "I told myself I'm not going back to another project. And I'm not," Cook said. One home Abram is especially proud of is the one he built for Cook in Clarksdale, Mississippi.
As a single mom, she never thought she could own her own home. "My kids...they've gotta home they can call their own. It's a stable place to stay and it's a good environment. It's a good spot," Cook said.
Abram said one of the main misconceptions people have is you have to be really poor to get help. But that's not true. Each case is different. The bottom line, Abram said, is helping those who want to help themselves. "It's not always easy. It has it's challenges. But the reward is at the end when you know that you've helped a family," Abram said.
Healthy Transitions has helped 30 families get a new home.