Grand Prairie Encourages Homeownership

Grand Prairie — The Grand Prairie Homeownership Fair presented by the Grand Prairie Housing and Neighborhood Services (GPHNS) and Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) took place at the Ruthe Jackson center on Saturday, Aug. 3.

“We’re here to help people,” William Hill, director of homeownership, said. “Not only do we help those who are low-income, we try to help everyone in the community, especially those who are trying to live and reach the American dream to own a home. We’re here to insure they have the tools to achieve that dream.”

“The City of Grand Prairie and DCHHS is behind homeownership,” Sean Kalkreuth, homeownership coordinator in Grand Prairie, said. “We do this event to bridge the gap between banks, realtors, and so on with future homeowners. Its’s a scary process. There’s credit involved. There are realtors in the business.

“It may seem simple but there are so many moving parts: from down payment assistance, to what city you’re going to live in; and how much of a home I can afford. [This event] gives that in-person experience to eliminate fear and help them feel comfortable with this process.

“We also offer educational classes to bring knowledge to families, so they feel equipped. Whatever resources they use, they’re armed with information, so they can be more successful when they do start trying to purchase a home.”

Current homeowner and Grand Prairie resident Irma Rodriguez attended the Homeownership Fair with her sister.

“I attended a session with her earlier,” Rodriguez said. “It was very informative. It’s helpful for me as a current homeowner. I’m learning about credit scoring. We wanted to learn about other things for our brother, who’s a veteran in San Antonio. We learned about things that could help him get a house, because he’s been renting all these years.”

“We will work with renters,” Hill said. “We have down payment closing cost assistance programs. We’ll lead future homeowners through a monthly seminar hosted by Sean Kalkreuth. Anyone can come in and learn what they need to do to own a home, the specific steps, such as getting your credit right, avoiding major purchases which affect your debt ratios. People tend to do things which they don’t view as detrimental to purchasing a home. We try to provide classes to help people. They can always set up appointments later for follow-up.

“New faces mean two things: either they’ve gone on to homeownership or are in the process of getting to homeownership. New faces are market, the folks we’re trying to reach. The event is mostly tailored to Grand Prairie. If someone comes from outside, I really want to share the knowledge and ability to become a homeowner with anyone. Hopefully, if they come to our seminars, they’ll become homeowners in Grand Prairie.”

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