This article was created in partnership with Philadelphia Neighborhoods, Temple University’s capstone multimedia journalism class.
With its oldest location being located at 1515 Fairmount Ave., Project H.O.M.E has been a staple in the Francisville community for over 20 years. The Francisville location offers 48 rental opportunities, primarily for patrons with a history of mental illness. However, in addition to that, Project H.O.M.E has dedicated part of its time and efforts toward providing affordable housing for below-average income qualifiers.
The criteria for the program are relatively simply. In order to qualify, a person must be a first-time homebuyer, earn less than 80 percent of the area’s median income, have a credit score of at least 650, have an established savings account with a minimum of $1,000 saved and have a consistent work history going back at least two years. Once someone has qualified, the person is added to a waiting list. If the person does not immediately meet the requirements, they can go through housing counseling, said Jill Roberts, the community development project manager of Project H.O.M.E.
“Really, housing counseling equals credit counseling,” Roberts said. “If you want to buy a home and you’re not a high-income person, somebody might say to you, ‘Why don’t you go through housing counseling?’ There, they train people to go through their statements and their budget. You can own a home, but you need to do a few things. You may need to dispute charges, pay down credit cards to get your credit in check. Anybody can buy a house if they get approved for mortgage.”