EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 31, 2014

New program aims to boost N.H. home ownership

Agencies target eleven towns

By John Toole
jtoole@eagletribune.com

---- — Two New Hampshire agencies are bringing a new program encouraging home ownership to more than a dozen communities in the Interstate 93 corridor and along the Massachusetts border.

Among towns targeted by the HOMEteam program in Rockingham and Hillsborough counties are Atkinson, Chester, Danville, Derry, Hampstead, Londonderry, Pelham, Plaistow, Salem, Sandown and Windham.

Manchester-based NeighborWorks Southern New Hampshire and CATCH Neighborhood Housing of Concord pooled resources to create the program.

HOMEteam will provide home ownership education and coaching.

The program will offer free workshops and counseling to help first-time buyers, train landlords and aid homeowners hoping to avoid foreclosure.

“It’s good to have someone on your team when you are trying to buy a house,” NeighborWorks executive director Robert Tourigny said.

Doing so amid increased financial regulation and market forces can be challenging, he acknowledged.

“Housing can be so unaffordable,” he said.

Affluent Windham is just seeing its first development of workforce housing, aimed at workers who otherwise would be priced out of the market.

“If you are, say, a school teacher, good luck trying to afford a home at the market rate,” Tourigny said.

The launch of the new HOMEteam program coincides with a separate project by NeighborWorks to develop 78 units of workforce housing in Londonderry.

Tourigny said NeighborWorks intends to break ground as soon as this summer for the Town Homes at Whittemore Place off Mammoth Road.

NeighborWorks and CATCH have a decades long presence in the state.

NeighborWorks came to Manchester in the 1990s to help stabilize housing in center city neighborhoods experiencing crime problems, due, in part, to a lack of owner-occupied properties.

CATCH has served the Concord area since the 1980s.

HOMEteam emerged from discussions among NeighborWorks and CATCH officials about how to streamline and expand services.

The program has financial support from Citizens Bank Foundation, which has previously worked with the agencies.

“This collaboration will help both organizations realize efficiencies while expanding their reach across the region,” Citizens Bank president Joe Carelli said in announcing the program.

Workshop and seminars are being held in Manchester, Nashua and Concord.

People can get more information by visiting hometeamnh.org or calling 866-701-9097.

Tourigny said HOMEteam may in the future offer financial help to people seeking to own homes.