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Non-profit helping people become homeowners sees spike in interest amid pandemic

(NBC15)
Published: May. 28, 2020 at 5:29 PM CDT
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The COVID-19 pandemic is not slowing down Acts Housing, a non-profit working to help people become homeowners in the Beloit and Milwaukee areas. In fact, it is seeing a spike in interest even as people hunker down inside.

From financial counseling to getting a loan, Acts Housing helps those with low to moderate income go through the entire process of

.

Edwing Chavez went through Acts Housing programs when its Beloit office opened in

. He closed on his very first home in November and is nearing the end of the rehab project.

“They help you with everything, they teach you the whole process you need to know,” he said.

Chavez is one of six homeowners in the Beloit area who purchased city tax foreclosures and rehabbed them. According to Acts Housing, three of those families closed on their homes during the pandemic.

The chief operating officer for Acts Housing, Dorothy York, said they expected things to slow down as people stayed home. Instead, a record number of people expressed interest in its services.

“People started hunkering down at home, probably realizing they didn’t really love where they were, especially some of the renters, and our numbers just exploded,” York said.

In April, at both the Milwaukee and Beloit locations, 272 people participated in the organization’s newly launched online orientation. That is compared to a monthly average of 80 people a month in 2019, according to Acts Housing.

“Technology has really helped us eliminate some additional barriers that people had to accessing our services, and we will definitely keep those in place,” York said.

York said the increase in interest is an indication they are reaching the right people.

“There are a lot of people who don’t have that comfort of home, that safety of home, and I like to think what we do at Acts is helping to create that,” she said.

Chavez started working on his home before the pandemic, and while some projects stalled for a time, he is nearing the finish line.

“They help you, they can help you fix your house or you never know. It’s a good program to start off with,” Chavez said.