AHOME Bites the Dust

AHOME, the local organization that assists re-building the downtown area by providing credit counseling, refurbishing rundown homes, and finding families to move into center city, is closing up shop.

We were forced to throw in the towel. We acted in good faith. We hired the staff because there is an absolute need for foreclosure prevention counseling in South Jersey.

I first wrote about AHOME in 2005:

But we have a program around here that I think is super. It is funded through a variety of government sources. Yes, that means you and I are footing the bill. But much like public libraries, I find the public “good” of this program to be worthwhile.

Affordable Homes of Millville Ecumenical (AHOME) buys old homes and renovates them or sometimes builds new. These homes are in the Third Ward, which is Millville’s most troubled area. Driving down 3rd Street gives one a glance of the area.

But AHOME does more than build new in the middle of squalor. It also researches, recruits, and counsels families that will purchase these homes. Folks who know me understand I am not big on counseling and feelgood programs in general. This process that AHOME conducts can last up to 18 months. The families (note: families, not arrangements) are taught budgeting, maintenance, and other skills that homeowners need to have. I am sure there is some profiling in determining who can purchase these homes. I can live with that. I believe there are pledges families need to make so they do not roll over the savings they make off the purchase into profit.

It’s a shame, but they just couldn’t pay the bills. The writing was on the wall last year when it got behind in mortgage payments on buildings it was working on. I am not certain what becomes of these homes. The “signature house”, as it were, sits on the corner of 3rd & Broad. It was a dump for years. It is now fixed up, but it’s been on the market for a long time. With AHOME going away, what becomes of that?

We know local tax dollars are used for the purchase of homes. Who benefits now?

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