By Ariel Worthy
The Birmingham Times
From beginning to end — credit building to lawn care expenses; reverse mortgage counseling to energy-saving tips for homes — the Neighborhood Housing Services of Birmingham (NHSB) provides the service.
“In a nutshell, we do everything,” said Bea Tatum, Interim CEO of Neighborhood Housing Services of Birmingham.
The NHBS has been around for 40 years and is a charter organization from NeighborWorks America. They provide numerous services for low-to-moderate income (LMI) individuals, such as pre- and post-homeownership counseling, credit repair, home buying and renting.
“We do anything that stabilizes homeownership for LMI individuals,” Tatum said. “Everything we do is geared towards ensuring that people stabilize their financial position. This is what we do; this is what we are experts in.”
All of the services are completely free and they partner with many organizations, including local churches, sororities, and other nonprofits, Tatum said.
“We have gone into Miles College and taught financial capability classes to students, and we have completed outreach at the BCRI to the Legacy Youth Leadership,” Tatum said.
The NHSB has trained people in credit stability including children and teenagers. Even though teaching the young is crucial, it’s not too late to help adults who have had financial trouble, Tatum said.
“We want them to be educated and not taken advantage of,” she said.
The organization is also a HUD certified counseling agency, and have monthly classes which teach building credit; how to save energy and money for utility bills.
“We pull the person’s credit and we have facilitators for each part of homeownership,” Tatum said. “We issue certificates so they can take those certificates to their lenders.”
The NHSB also has property, including two apartment complexes, one in the west Birmingham and another in Avondale. “We also rehab the houses, and often we sell them below market value,” Tatum said.
The NHSB serves a diverse group of clients, including veterans and those with special needs. One particular client reminded Tatum of the impact the organization is making.
“We had one man who was a special needs individual, and his parents were much older, so we tried to find something that he could afford in the neighborhood where they needed it.”
Tatum remembered closing day for him.
“When we closed on his house I walked in, and his parents said, ‘Oh that’s the dream maker . . . you have made my son’s dream come true of owning his own home.’”
NHSB can be contacted at (205) 328-4292 or nhsbham.org. The address is 601 19th Street North. Birmingham, AL 35203.