$250,000 grant helps provide affordable housing in Augusta

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AUGUSTA, Ga (WJBF)– Wells Fargo is donating $9 million to 62 non-profit organizations across the country and one of them is right here in Augusta.

Wells Fargo donated $250,000 to the CSRA Economic Opportunity Authority which helps people in our community buy affordable homes.

“We feel really strongly that when our communities are successful, we’re successful in turn and as a partner with the CSRA EOA, we feel that’s a common goal we both share,” says Wells Fargo District Manager Mark Tamasi.

Christel Snyder with the CSRA EOA says there is a national crisis related to affordable housing.

“Wages have remained stagnant and housing prices are soaring and we really feel like as an organization if we’re going to be helping people get out of poverty that helping them build wealth by building equity and being able to purchase a home is a great thing,” Snyder says.

The CSRA EOA owns 4 homes in South Augusta that they currently use to house families who are transitioning out of homelessness. They plan to use the $250,000 grant to renovate the 4 homes and sell them at an affordable price to want-to-be homeowners.

Once they renovate and sell the 4 South Augusta homes, they plan to use the profits to buy and renovate more homes with help from the Land Bank.

“The Land Bank is offering properties to non-profits so that’s one way we want to further this project is to maybe purchase things at a discount from the Land Bank going forward so that we can continue to do house after house after these first 4,” Snyder explains.

Some of the homes offered by the Land Bank are in neighborhoods where blight is an issue.

“This is going to be addressing that issue for the city to take those blighted houses and get them to be tax performing positive properties for the city again,” Snyder points out. “Taking that one house and that now being something that is generating tax revenue for the city, it’s safer, drug use, things like that are not going to be happening there so that’s going to be a huge impact just one house in a neighborhood.”

The CSRA EOA plans to partner with non- profit apprenticeship programs and youth build programs to complete the renovations.

“Someone is learning a skill, but doing that at our houses so we’re helping someone get career skills, but that is going to reduce our cost,” Snyder says.

This cycle of buy, renovate and sell and an affordable price is something they have wanted to do for a long time. The $250,00 grant allows them to kick things off and get the model going.

“This is not something that we’ve done. It’s something we’ve wanted to do for a long time so this is our kind of first entry into the development of affordable housing,” Snyder says. “We’ve been doing kind of the education and counseling, but have not developed any affordable housing yet.”

Mayor Hardie Davis was there to congratulate both organizations, Wells Fargo and the CSRA EOA on their service to the community.

The homes sold by the CSRA EOA will be available to those who go through their Home Ownership Planning Education Program. Their counselors coach individuals on how to get credit and mortgage ready in preparation for home ownership.

For more information or to participate in any of the HOPE Programs, please contact Christel Snyder at 706-922-8353 or cjiles@esraeoa.org.

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