Calcasieu offering homebuyers class

By By John Guidroz / American Press

Homeowners and potential homebuyers are encouraged to attend the Homebuyers/Financial Education classes this month being hosted

by the Calcasieu Parish Housing Counseling Agency.

The first class will be 9 a.m.-5 p.m. July 13 in the Allen P. August Annex Building, 2000 Moeling St. The second will be 5-8

p.m. July 16 in the annex building. The third class will be 10 a.m.-noon July 20 in Lowe’s, 2800 Derek Drive.

People must register by Monday to attend the classes. Residents can register online at www.cppj.net/housingcounseling.

Tarek Polite, the parish’s human services director, said the program is not just for first-time homebuyers. He said people

buying a home need to understand things like credit and setting a budget.

“We feel and believe that everyone who

is pursuing a house should be educated,” Polite said. “It’s a

complicated process,

and we want to make sure Calcasieu residents understand it. It

doesn’t matter if you’re buying a $50,000 house or a $300,000

house.”

Polite said the Housing Counseling Agency began pursuing an educational program after the credit meltdown in 2008 and while

providing housing counseling after Hurricane Ike.

“We were doing disaster housing

assistance and found out that people didn’t have a good background on

finances and other important

things, like loan documents,” he said.

Polite said first-time homebuyers who

take the course can qualify for down payment and closing cost

assistance. Participants

will earn a certificate of completion from the agency, which is

approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Deborah Tate, one of the agency’s housing counselors, said at least 13 people who took the course have since purchased a home.

For more information on the classes, including one-on-one counseling, call the Housing Counseling Agency at 721-4030.