Queens, NY – More than 1000 residents and families from diverse economic backgrounds attended the Annual Homebuyer Fair held in Jackson Heights, Queens, N.Y. April 7.
It was organized by the non-profit Chhaya Community Development Corporation and according to a press release, many of the attendees were immigrants. Chhaya CDC was founded in 2000 with the mission of helping low-income South Asians access housing and other services.
“There is currently an affordable housing crisis in New York City, and homeownership increasingly seems out of the realm of possibility for most New Yorkers,” Chhaya CDC said in a press release.
This is the ninth year that Chhaya has organized the homebuyer fair, which it says, presents comprehensive and clear information from a wide array of experts in the field of home ownership.
Topics covered at the event included the nitty-gritty of buying a home: contract of sale; loan eligibility; the importance of credit; pre-approval vs. pre-qualification; and affordable home products. Many prospective buyers are not aware that in order to qualify for down payment assistance, the paperwork must be filed by a housing counselor at a HUD approved agency such as Chhaya, the organization noted. “Access to housing counseling and budgeting tools can be life-changing.” Chhaya CDC’s Executive Director, Annetta Seecharran, is quoted saying in the press release. “Often the barrier to home ownership is enough capital for down-payment and closing costs. The homebuyers’ fair is essentially a catalyst in the home-buying process that connects prospective homebuyers to the services they need in what can be an entirely daunting process,” Seecharran added. The event was also attended by New York City Councilmember Daniel Dromm, D-Jackson Heights, Elmhurst. “The road to homeownership can be fraught with difficulty for low-income families,” Dromm is quoted saying as he praised and thanked Chhaya for organizing the event. “Homeownership is part of the American dream but is too often out of reach for economically disadvantaged people. … Many may soon own their first home thanks to this important effort,” Dromm added. Other leaders at the event included Rasel K. Rahman, director of the NYC Comission on Human Rights’s at Queens Community Servie Center. NYC’s Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR) lead a session on Fair Housing Rights, followed by Habitat for Humanity’s Affordable Housing component. Chhaya’s Housing Preservation Program Manager, Yangchen Chadotsang, led a discussion on the role of a counseling agency, as well as down-payment assistance and eligibility. The lending partners represented at the event included Bank of America; First Republic Bank; JP Morgan Chase; M&T Bank; Municipal Credit Union; People’s United Bank; Santander; TDBank; Valley National Bank; and Wells Fargo.
Chhaya says it “has helped prevent hundreds of foreclosures; assisted first-time homebuyers in obtaining thousands of dollars in down-payment assistance; played a critical role in the ongoing effort to legalize basement apartments to expand the pool of safe and affordable housing; provided individuals with key immigration services to better navigate daily life; empowered families with financial management tools and skills; and fostered the civic engagement of thousands of South Asian New Yorkers.”