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QCAP: 50 Years of Reducing Poverty through Housing and Education

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

This is the year that Quincy Community Action Programs (QCAP) celebrates 50 years as an agency. QCAP helps homeowners keep their homes, counsels potential homeowners on the process of home buying, and informs about landlord-tenant issues. Other programs include fair housing and homeless prevention counseling, as well as emergency and rapid re-housing assistance. In addition, QCAP owns and manages affordable housing units. All told, QCAP serves 20,000 unduplicated individuals from more than 80 communities in the Great Quincy.

Homeownership Counselor Toni Gershon-Stern came to QCAP with over 20 years of banking and mortgage industry experience. She wanted to "help families in our community realize their dream of homeownership, and help current homeowners stay in the homes and in the communities that they love." Assisting home buyers apply for down payment assistance and other grants is part of her job, as is working with local lenders. Another important part of Gershon-Stern's work "ensures that all families who desire to live in our region whether renting or owning are treated fairly and not discriminated against."

The agency takes care of veterans, too. Gershon-Stern is also a Certified Military Counseling Specialist who helps those who have served our country understand their rights and options and either helps them purchase a home or stay in their home.

Helping to achieve the dream of homeownership is a pool of speakers from a range of professions that include real estate professionals, lenders, lawyers, home inspectors, and insurance agents. "Our First-Time Homebuyer Workshops educate potential homeowners on the complete ins and outs of the home buying process, from loan options to insurance and home inspections," explains Gershon-Stern. "Our goal is to educate them to become savvy homeowners."

Now participants can take "The Road Home" First-Time Homebuyer courses online. In addition to home ownership education and housing assistance, QCAP provides fuel and food assistance, head start, quality and affordable early education and care. Family engagement workshops, adult education include HiSet, Career Ready 101, ESOL. Financial education and job coaching and placement, which includes credit repair and free tax preparation

"Homeownership education and counseling is a valuable long-term investment in our families," says Gershon-Stern. "We help them not only with the home buying process; we ensure they continue to make educated decisions and help them stay in their homes and communities for as long as they desire. Strong families lead to strong, healthy and vibrant communities."

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About The Author

Elizabeth R. Elstien has worked in real estate for over 15 years as a real estate...

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