HORN LAKE, MS (abc24.com) - Many Mid-South families have a history of renting and never owning a home. Bad credit and a lack of money stop families from taking that big step. One Mississippi woman broke that cycle in her family. Only 23-years old, April Smith is proud to call herself a new homeowner.
The move was made possible by a non-profit organization called "Healthy Transitions Development Group." The organization offers credit counseling and can help pay closing costs so the new homeowner doesn't have to pay a dime.
“It's one of my first steps as a big girl you know,” Smith told abc24.com as she laughed. “I graduated college, got a job, and now I'm getting a house."
The 23 year old couldn't be happier.
"My mom and my aunt always dreamed to own a home but they haven't been able to achieve that yet," she said.
Smith is the first in her family to become a home owner. She didn't do it alone. Healthy Transitions Development Group helped her along the way.
"What we do is take them by the hand and one of the first things we do is evaluate their credit," said Healthy Transitions Executive Director Antonio Abram. “A lot of people are fearful that they cannot afford it, based on their credit or based on their income."
That was the case for Smith, but it all changed in January when Healthy Transitions started construction of her brand new 3 bedroom, 2 bath home in Horn Lake, Mississippi. It even has a fireplace. Her mortgage is less than $900 a month.
“The seller is covering closing costs,” Smith said.
Healthy Transitions Development Group not only builds new homes but all the homes are energy efficient. The group also helps low income people move into new homes all over the Mid-South.
"That gives us the great joy and satisfaction that we're able to help somebody to fulfill the American dream,” Abram said.
Smith's home won't be finished until March but she already has big plans.
The non-profit group was founded in 2010. So far there are seven homes under construction, including April Smith's home. For more information about Healthy Transitions, visit them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HealthyTransitionsDevelopment