BCD, Inc. Breaks Ground on EmPowerment Center

BCD Expands Affordable Housing Program

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If you've ever considered buying a home, now may be the perfect time. Better Community Development, Inc. has expanded its Affordable Housing Program to allow those with higher incomes to become homeowners.

"In the past we could only go up to $47,300 for a 4-person household," said BCD Housing Director Darryl Swinton. "With this new program we can go up to about $80,000. So if a person makes $80,000 a year they would still be able to qualify for it."

The new program allowed Rev. David and Patricia Spencer to buy their first home.

Rev. David & Patricia Spencer

"I love it," said Mrs. Spencer. "The space, the way it's built, the extra room. I like the idea of paying for something I own."

Besides the extra space, the Spencers are also paying $100 less a month for their mortgage payment than they were for rent. Rev. Spencer said BCD made the homebuying process easy.

"They instructed us on everything we needed to do, it was simple," he said.

BCD also offers closing cost and down payment assistance. To qualify, you are required to participate in BCD's eight-hour Homebuyer Education Class. The next class is on Saturday, September 10th at 8:00am at the Willie Hinton Neighborhood Resource Center. Register online or contact Ruth Jones for more information at 501-379-1561 or rajones@bcdinc.org.

Grant money from HUD's Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2 (NSP2) will allow BCD to build 30 homes over the next two years. So far, two homes are finished, and construction will soon begin on another eight.

 

Interns Share Career Advice and Life Lessons

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BCD interns Janee Moses & Jonathan Wembo

Shortly after arriving in Little Rock this summer, Janee Moses opened a fortune cookie. It read, "Your next relationship will be a lasting one." Moses believes that fortune cookie predicted the relationships that she would build with the students who participated in BCD's "It's Your Move" summer youth program.

Moses, who is from Brooklyn, New York, and Jonathan Wembo of Matthew, North Carolina, were summer interns with the General Board of Global Ministries--a mission program of the United Methodist Church. The interns developed curriculum for students ages 13 through 18 which focused on self-esteem, career planning, plus a little practical advice.

"I told them, you never know who's watching," said Wembo. "So it's always good to carry themselves in a manner that will help them because opportunities are always around."

Moses, who is 21, believes at first her age may have prevented her students from taking her seriously. "When I first got here they told me--you just got grown!" she remembers, laughing.

Eventually, they began to open up to her. "Even though I have a different background and I've experienced different things, they respond well to me because the same way I'm honest with them they in return want to be honest with me," said Moses. "They seem very eager to share their stories."

Careers for Life Program

Wembo remembers a similar experience. "Honestly, when I first got here I wasn't sure that they we're going to open up to me," he said. "As young Black men sometimes they want to put up a front. But once you start building relationships, it's easy."

By the end of the summer, one young man even told Wembo that he wanted to be "brothers".

BCD plans to use the career curriculum with students this fall, and hopes to expand the program next summer by taking students out into the community to learn about different career fields.