Gloucester County Times

A Home Of Her Own

Seminar Offers Help For Women Interested In A Buying A Home

Gloucester County Times — Friday, June 20, 2008

By Cariy Romalino

New Jersey Citizen Action is helping single New Jersey women realize their dreams of home ownership through inspiration and tales of success.

"We have a very good track record. We have been doing this for about 14 years," Holmes said. "And we probahly have put about 12,000 people in homes."

A citizen "watch dog" group, as Bonita Holmes, director of loan counseling at NJCA described it, the organization tries to get government officials to respond to the needs of New Jerseyans. It has worked toward Social Security issues and Paid Family Leave Act concerns and, in a seminar in Cherry Hill on Saturday, "A Home of Her Own: Women's Housing Initiative," will target single women and their struggle to become first-time homeowners.

According to NJCA, census reports have shown that single women are less likely to own their own homes than single men. Even if they will actually qualify for loans to purchase a home, many single women "think they would never qualify for a home," Holmes said.

NJCA takes the position that, with a little coaching, anyone can become financially stable and make a major investment in a house.

"We have a huge amount of female heads-of-household that are in our (loan counseling) program," Holmes said.

NJCA hopes its Saturday event will inspire women to seek free financial counseling through the organization. Women who have been through the program and now work with NJCA will share their victories, and NJCA's loan counselors will explain common reasons loan applicants are denied, credit problems and the loan counseling process.

NJCA's loan counseling involves an initial application, one-on-one meeting with a counselor and an eventual financial plan. This is the only fee required. Holmes said, although NJCA charges clients what the group must pay to nm a three-point credit check.

"Some might be in counseling a year or two, or they might need savings, have some credit issues," Holmes said.

But counseling is enough, she assured, to help single heads-of-household find a plan that will that can lead them to home ownership.

"It is possible," she said.

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