2004-01-16 / Community

NYCHA Graduates Receive Certificates

NYCHA Graduates Receive Certificates

Certificates are awarded to the project’s first graduating class.Certificates are awarded to the project’s first graduating class.

The New York City Housing Authority’s Rockaway HOPE VI rehabilitation program has generated much excitement and hope for the residents of the Ocean Bay Apartments. The overall plan to physically improve residential space, community facilities, and the surrounding area has attracted attention from residents and nonresidents alike, as the improvements begin to materialize and improve the quality of life for the residents.

An equally exciting component of the HOPE VI program, while not as readily tangible as a renovated apartment, is the homeownership initiative.

Administered in partnership with Margert Community Corporation, the NYCHA Ocean Bay HOPE VI Homeownership Preparation Program, designed to empower residents to break through existing barriers to low income and minority participation in the American Dream, just completed its first semester of classroom training this past December.

Successful completion of the Homeownership Preparation Program required 100% attendance for 24 hours of classroom training, independent study and a final exam. "I am extremely proud to report that 17 students were able to fully commit themselves to our rigorous course of study and receive a certificate of completion," said Ms. Stephanie Lawes, Director of Homeownership Services at Margert. "These graduates recognize that this is only the first step toward homeownership. They may now begin to rebuild credit and establish mortgage readiness with full knowledge of the home mortgage loan process. Experienced budget & credit counselors, provided exclusively for this program, have already begun working with the graduates to move them further down the road to homeownership."

Joseph Barden, executive director of Margert, hands out certificates to graduates at  the ceremony.Joseph Barden, executive director of Margert, hands out certificates to graduates at the ceremony.

This unique classroom training opportunity, designed specifically by Margert for NYCHA residents, is being offered on both weeknights and weekends to accommodate as many residents as possible. All residents of the Ocean Bay Apartments Bay are eligible for the classroom training. However, only those that meet income eligibility guidelines may qualify for a NYCHA purchase assistance subsidy of up to $ 25,000. This subsidy will be made available for up to 24 income-eligible NYCHA resident households that successfully meet program requirements. Margert will provide an additional purchase assistance subsidy of $ 10,000 for those graduates that meet their eligibility guidelines.

"The rapport created by Lawes between the Margert homeownership team and the residents was truly genuine," remarked Joseph Barden, Margert’s executive director, "and served as the foundation for a powerful learning experience. We are extremely grateful to have been fully supported by the executive staff of the NYCHA Department of Housing Finance and Development, especially Sharon Ebert, Richard French, Veanda Martin, Keith Johnson and Vaughn Banks."

NYCHA’s commitment to the program was underscored by the presence of executive staff at both graduation ceremonies (see photos).

All interested Ocean Bay residents are encouraged to reach out to Margert Community Corporation for more information on this unique opportunity.

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