Published April 15, 2008
Volume 16, Number 4

Tri-Valley Housing Opportunity Center Expands Programs

As of January 2008, the education and counseling programs offered by the Tri-Valley Housing Opportunity Center (TVHOC) have helped 75 individuals and families make the proud leap to first-time home-ownership. Now the 501(c) (3) public charity is gearing up to cover a broader spectrum, moving beyond the pivotal first stage of home-buying assistance to launch a larger, post-purchase menu of services. The new options will include counseling in early delinquency and foreclosure, especially timely topics in this unsettled housing market, points out Jacqueline Rickman, Executive Director of the Livermore-based non-profit.

The expansion comes in tandem with the center’s application for certification from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as a housing counseling agency, a landmark that has been Rickman’s mission since she came on board in September 2006. A veteran of the process in past positions, she explains that certification ensures “we meet all federal guidelines and policies and are running our agency according to HUD standards established back in 1997. It opens the door to federal funding and participation in other housing programs that only work with HUD-approved agencies.”

Like its affordable housing component, the non-profit’s post-purchase assistance targets an audience of low to moderate earners with annual incomes ranging anywhere from under $30,000 up to $103,300 annually for a family of four.

Post-purchase counseling helps constituents move further along the financial literacy continuum so essential for living in a high-cost area. Home-buyers who start out on the below-market path eventually want to trade up, and additional services from the agency can help them chart a road map to their new goals. Education in maintenance and upkeep teaches homeowners how to keep their investment “healthy,” but it’s not just about replacing sinks and floors. Issues like living trusts and insurance are also covered. “Participants go through family stability and basic financial literacy programs to the next steps of protecting their investments and planning for their future,” Rickman notes.

TVHOC will roll out its new post-purchase services, especially those “available to address the delinquency and foreclosure issues in the Tri-Valley region,” in a regional town hall meeting on Saturday, May 10, 2008. The event will take place at the Carr America Conference Center, 4400 Rosewood Drive in Hacienda, from 10:00 am to noon. Consumers and vendors who would like more information can contact Rickman by voice at (925) 373-3930 or email at Jacqueline@tvhoc.org.

Rickman also mentions that the center is looking to fill a few open spots on its board. Prospective members should have an interest in financial literacy and housing issues, along with a “passion” to educate. “I’d like to see a real diverse group of people who either work or live in the Tri-Valley region, who could commit five to six hours monthly, with a knack for fund- raising or marketing, or who know how to establish a curriculum and want to engage with the community in an advisor/ambassador-type role.” For more information, visit the TVHOC web site or call Rickman at the number above.

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