Chhaya’s Homebuyer Fair Empowers Low-Income Families on the Path to Home Ownership

Jackson Heights, NY – Chhaya CDC’s Annual Homebuyer Fair was held on Saturday, April 7th, 2018 at P.S.069, in the heart of Jackson Heights. The event attracted over 500 residents and families from diverse economic backgrounds, many of whom are immigrants. There is currently an affordable housing crisis in New York City, and homeownership increasingly seems out of the realm of possibility for most New Yorkers. This is the ninth year that Chhaya has organized the homebuyer fair, which presents comprehensive and clear information from a wide array of experts in the field of home ownership. Topics covered include: contract of sale; loan eligibility; the importance of credit; pre-approval vs. pre-qualification; and affordable home products.

Many prospective buyers are not aware that in order to qualify for down payment assistance, the paperwork must be filed by a housing counselor at a HUD approved agency such as Chhaya.

“Access to housing counseling and budgeting tools can be life-changing.” said Chhaya CDC’s Executive Director, Annetta Seecharran, “Often the barrier to home ownership is enough capital for down-payment and closing costs. The homebuyers’ fair is essentially a catalyst in the home-buying process that connects prospective homebuyers to the services they need in what can be an entirely daunting process.”

“The road to homeownership can be fraught with difficulty for low-income families.  Chhaya CDC’s homebuyers’ fair will help these New Yorkers overcome those challenges,” said NYC Council Member Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights, Elmhurst).  “Homeownership is part of the American dream but is too often out of reach for economically disadvantaged people.  This fair will connect prospective homebuyers with housing counselors and lenders, and will help them learn about down-payment assistance programs.  I thank Chhaya CDC for educating and empowering my constituents.  Many may soon own their first home thanks to this important effort.”

“Every New Yorker deserves equal access to fair and affordable housing,” said Director of the NYC Commission on Human Right’s Queens Community Service Center, Rasel K. Rahman. “The NYC Commission on Human Rights works every day to inform New Yorkers of their rights against housing discrimination and fights to ensure that all New Yorkers, including home buyers, are being treated equally and with respect. The Commission commends Chhaya for its ongoing efforts in this area and encourages anyone in New York City who feels they have been the victim of housing discrimination to contact the Commission at 718-722-3131. Complaints can be filed anonymously. The Commission serves New Yorkers in their preferred language and never asks about immigration status.”

NYC’s Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR) lead a session on Fair Housing Rights, followed by Habitat for Humanity’s Affordable Housing component. Chhaya’s Housing Preservation Program Manager, Yangchen Chadotsang, lead a dynamic discussion on the role of a counseling agency, as well as down-payment assistance and eligibility.

The lending partners represented at the event include: Bank of America; Citi; First Republic Bank; JP Morgan Chase; M&T Bank; Municipal Credit Union; People’s United Bank; Santander; TDBank; Valley National Bank; Wells Fargo.

“Valley National Bank takes pride in matching each customer with the exact product they need, because we understand that every home financing situation is unique. we will guide home buyers through every step of the mortgage process so that their dream of owning a home will become a reality” Carlos Morales, Home Loan Consultant, Valley National Bank.

Chhaya CDC is an anti-poverty non-profit organization based in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York.  Founded in 2000, Chhaya is committed to breaking down the barriers to the economic, social, and political advancement of low income South Asians. Chhaya – a Sanskrit word meaning “shelter or shade”aims to protect and promote affordable housing in New York City. Chhaya has helped prevent hundreds of foreclosures; assisted first-time homebuyers in obtaining thousands of dollars in down-payment assistance; played a critical role in the ongoing effort to legalize basement apartments to expand the pool of safe and affordable housing; provided individuals with key immigration services to better navigate daily life; empowered families with financial management tools and skills; and fostered the civic engagement of thousands of South Asian New Yorkers.

For more information about Chhaya CDC’s work, visit www.chhayacdc.org or join the

conversation on Chhaya’s social media channels @ChhayaCDC