United Way Program Creates Home Buyer Success Stories

NEW CASTLE, Pa. – Jocelyn Blackshear recently followed in her mother’s footsteps of becoming a homeowner after participating in the home buyer classes offered through the United Way of Lawrence County.

The five-week sessions are designed to educate and prepare participants for purchasing a home. Participants hear directly from presenters such as Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, Penn Power/First Energy, Neighborhood Legal Services, CareerLink and several area banks, including First Commonwealth, First National and WesBanco.

For Blackshear, the class led to her purchasing a new home from Don Services, acquiring a mortgage from Huntington Bank, which presented at one of her sessions.

Blackshear’s mother, Rosalind, also participated in a prior HOMES program through United Way, which led to her becoming a home buyer several years ago. Rosalind’s success helped provide stability and increased wealth for her family. She continues to encourage families to take advantage of the opportunities through the United Way programs, and she has shared her story with participants in the past.

Jocelyn Blackshear and her daughter, Peighton.

According to Gayle Young, executive director of the United Way of Lawrence County, Blackshear would be considered a prime example of an Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed (ALICE) family. ALICE households earn more than the federal poverty level but less than the basic cost of living, which is the same as nearly half of the households in Lawrence County.

A single parent, Blackshear is employed at a nonprofit agency. She also found it challenging to gather all the proper documentation to obtain a home. Through the home buyer classes, she learned about budgeting and setting financial goals. She now has a home for her and her daughter, Peighton, and is encouraging others to attend the program’s sessions, take notes and always ask questions.

The United Way classes are in partnership with Penn State Extension, 10,000 Friends and the New Castle Library.

For more information, call the United Way at 724 658 8528.

Pictured at top: The home purchased by Jocelyn Blackshear.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.