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LOU-Home to host housing workshop

LOU-Home, Inc. is hosting a workshop on tenant-landlord relationships this Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon at the Lafayette County & Oxford Public Library. 

The information session will not only provide information to those considering applying for residency in the Belle Rivers and Eastover affordable housing developments being built off Slack Road, but will also have valuable information for anyone who rents their home. 

According to LOU-Home Chief Administrative Officer Fred Laurenzo, arming tenants and landlords with tools to navigate the rental relationship is key to alleviating some of the stress of Oxford’s affordable housing problem. 

“This workshop is for anybody who is in a tenant-landlord relationship some good information on how to handle their leases, their relationships with the property owners and how to make a graceful exit from a lease,” Laurenzo said.  

Those seeking more information about the Belle Rivers and Eastover developments are encouraged to attend. Announced last year, the three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bathroom townhomes offer the unique option for reduced home ownership after 15 years, as part of a program funded by the federal government.  

Individuals who live in the unit at the 15-year mark will be eligible to purchase their home for a reduced price based on the amount they’ve paid in rent over the course of residency there. Unlike subsidized housing projects, residents in Belle Rivers and Eastover will not be pushed out if they earn more than the maximum income requirement.

“If they qualify when they move in, we’re not going to penalize people because their lives are improving. That’s part of the regulations set by the federal government,” Laurenzo said. “These are the people who need the housing here. It’s going to be a good addition, but it’s only going to make a dent in the need in this city.”  

Laurenzo said he and the other members of the LOU-Home team are encouraged by the City of Oxford’s recently established affordable housing commission, because it will likely generate a long-term solution for the lack of workforce housing in the LOU Community. 

“LOU-Home has been in the business of affordable housing now for 10 years or better and we’ve helped to raise the consciousness of the need for affordable housing,” he said. “I’m really encouraged by the housing commission which has been created by the city, because it requires everybody’s effort. It requires everybody’s effort to solve this systemic problem.” 

Part of solving the systemic housing problem, in addition to developments like Belle Rivers and workshops from LOU-Home, is attacking the issue at the root. In order to do this, Laurenzo said LOU-Home will also be offering credit counseling following the workshop on Saturday and by appointment.

The goal, he said, is to make sure everyone moving into Belle Rivers, Eastover, and other tenant-landlord relationships has a solid foundation to improve their financial standings. 

Those considering first-time home ownership can also expect a workshop later this summer, Laurenzo said.  

For more information on Saturday’s workshop and LOU-Home, Inc., visit the organization’s Facebook page. To learn more about Belle Rivers and Eastover, visit http://www.bellerivers.com.