5 mistakes you’re making when it comes to housing stability + how to fix them


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Register for UWCA’s free 2021 Housing and Financial Empowerment Webinar Series to build your knowledge of housing. Photo via Unsplash

Whether owning, renting or considering a new investment, there are many questions surrounding housing stability and best practices. Approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), United Way of Central Alabama (UWCA)‘s Housing Alliance can help answer them. Register for their free 2021 Housing and Financial Empowerment Webinar Series to build your knowledge of housing.

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The free workshops offer something for everyone, from fair housing to renting and even first-time homeownership. You can be a silent participant or join in on the discussion during the live Q&A program. There’s also room to talk with an expert one-on-one about your situation.

1. Not taking action when you fall behind

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United Way can help if you’ve fallen behind on rent or mortgage payments. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

As we’re coming out of a devastating financial hit from the pandemic, people are facing trouble with payments more often. One of the concerns being how individuals and families will get out of a situation when they’re several months behind on rent.

“United Way has resources to help people who are in that situation. One of the worst things you can do is to not do anything. Part of what we’re trying to promote in these workshops is to encourage people to take action if they’re behind on a mortgage payment or their rent. Again, the worst thing you can do is just hope it goes away because that’s not going to happen.”

Dana Ullrich, MPA MPH, Vice President, Community Initiatives, United Way of Central Alabama

There’s a different topic covered by each of the workshops, including budgeting and staying on top of household spending plans. However, if you’re past this point and behind on rent, experts at UWCA can talk about available resources and who to talk to.

“If you’re behind on your rent, we can help you figure out how to address that with your landlord. The answer for a lot of these is to talk to a housing counseling agency. We’ve assembled together experts from all 10 of our agencies that we support and have given them a platform to disseminate that kind of knowledge.”

Kayce Swift, Housing Alliance Coordinator, United Way of Central Alabama

2. Asking the wrong person for advice

housing stability workshop
Here’s who you SHOULD be talking to for help. Photo via United Way of Central Alabama

Whether they’re telling you if there’s a red flag in your credit report or translating the complicated jargon around credit, loans and interest rates, the Housing Alliance is an unbiased and nonjudgmental resource.

“Talk to somebody who doesn’t have a vested interest in you getting a loan from them. Talk to a third party who’s got some expertise. That’s where the way Housing Alliance comes into play. They can look at your credit, run a credit report for you and tell you exactly what it is.”

Dana Ullrich

3. Assuming you don’t have the credit

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Photo via Unsplash

Part of the UWCA Housing Alliance net captures D&E, A Housing and Economic Empowerment Center, Inc. The Partner Agency provides housing services for individuals seeking affordable and sustainable housing options, foreclosure counseling and more.

Patrice Duncan serves as the COO of The D&E Group and comes across this problem with her clients frequently.

Many people don’t have access to the various downpayment assistance programs that are available. As a borrower, you can come out of pocket with sometimes zero money down or very little.

“I think one of the biggest misconceptions is the downpayment that’s required, and sometimes the credit score that is required. We’re just understanding credit scoring altogether because a lot of folks who may not have traditional credit are not aware that in the mortgage process you can use nontraditional credit.”

Patrice Duncan, COO, The D&E Group

These options can assist you in one of the biggest barriers—the downpayment of getting a home. Learn more when you register for an upcoming workshop.

4. Thinking housing stability only means money

The UWCA Housing Alliance acts as an umbrella for other agencies in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi. So, they’re able to provide resources for a broad range of topics. For example, one of the workshops also covers the intersection of financial abuse and domestic violence.

“We have an agency that’s really taken on focusing on that very specific trauma-informed care with domestic violence victims. They’ve taken on this session of working, hopefully directly with victims and survivors of domestic violence, which is also had a huge spike during COVID.

Kayce Swift, Housing Alliance Coordinator, United Way of Central Alabama

UWCA can connect someone seeking help with a specialist for specific areas like this one.

5. Skipping educational courses

housing stability
United Way can help with a diverse range of financial and housing problems. Photo via United Way of Central Alabama

Since UWCA’s Financial and Housing Education is one of the 10 diverse nonprofits that the Housing Alliance supports, when you attend workshops you’re not only getting knowledgeable advice from one person or on one subject. There’s a breadth of resources available for whatever help you need.

“Knowledge is power, and we’ve got a tremendous amount of expertise within our network. Part of what we’re trying to do now is, keep people engaged and keep people interested in trying to further their knowledge of housing and empowering themselves to make these decisions, especially during COVID.”

Dana Ullrich

Find upcoming dates for United Way’s free 2021 Housing and Financial Empowerment Webinar Series and register today.

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