One of the primary convictions underpinning the Tri-Valley Housing Opportunity Center (TVHOC) is that employers have a vested interest in workforce housing. Employee well-being and productivity are closely linked to stable and appropriate housing arrangements. For many who face the challenging California real estate market, that can only be accomplished through education.
"People who are better educated in their home ownership or housing decisions are more likely to make good, solid choices," states Milly Seibel, Executive Director of the TVHOC, based in Livermore. "We can quantify that they are healthier and have less stress. This strengthens neighborhoods and the community at large. It also benefits employers, not just in fewer sick days but in enhanced overall well-being, especially when workers can live near the workplace."
The nonprofit will be bringing this message to employers throughout the area with the launch of its corporate giving campaign, whose goal is to build a $1 million fund to finance its services. The outreach initiative will be two-fold. "We will be asking businesses to support us financially as well as use the opportunity to offer our services to their employees," explains Randi DeHollander, RDH Education Services, and chair of the TVHOC Board of Directors. "We will also request companies that have a giving program to enable their employees to contribute to our center."
A nonprofit collaboration involving the cities of Pleasanton, Dublin, Livermore, San Ramon, and Danville, TVHOC was formed in 2005. For the past five years, it has been "the local resource for people to make good and informed housing choices in the Tri-Valley," providing homebuyer education for over 9,000 community members representing a cross-section of the Tri-Valley population. Services are provided regardless of income. "We are a HUD-approved, locally-based 501(c)(3) charitable organization that offers residents expert, unbiased, and personalized information to guide them through the complex process of home-seeking, home-buying, or saving the home they already own," says Seibel.
TVHOC programs represent a soup-to-nuts tutorial in the financial arena. Targeting the typically underbanked and underserved, the Financial Literacy Workshop curriculum focuses on preventing fraudulent and financially destructive transactions. Clients who are not ready to move on to the next step, the Homebuyer Education course, can receive One-on-One Credit and Pre-Purchase Counseling aimed at correcting barriers to homeownership, such as budgeting, credit, and savings. The HUD-approved eight-hour Homebuyer Workshop focuses on budgeting for homeownership, evaluating loan products, an orientation to the purchase transaction, and post purchase guidance on how to maintain the home investment.
Two other programs, Early Delinquency/Loss Mitigation Counseling and Foreclosure Recovery Workshops and One-on-One Counseling, are very timely. They offer professional guidance on resources for loan modification, home retention options, and post-foreclosure financial recovery.
From February 2 through April 14, the Center will once again provide income tax preparation for "extremely low to low income households" at no charge. A gamut of volunteer opportunities, from tax preparers to greeters, are available. For more information, including a list of upcoming courses, visit www.tvhoc.org or contact Seibel at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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