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New program in Richmond County will help some educators own a new home

AUGUSTA, Ga (WJBF)- Augusta’s Housing and Community Development Department is working to provide the chance for educators to own a home.

The department was recently awarded funds for the ‘Tenured Educators Affordable Community Housing’ program or T.E.A.C.H. for short.

Many teachers are in the low income bracket and many struggle to find affordable housing.

T.E.A.C.H. will use funds provided through a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program, called the HOME Investment Partnership Program.
It will allow them to build 4 new, 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom single family homes on Lyman Street in South Augusta. They will be between 1,600 and 1,800 square feet and cost around $169,000.

Housing and Development will pay for 50 percent and the buyer (qualifying educators) will pay the rest.

“So I think one thing when we start talking about affordable housing, one thing that we cannot– we cannot control pretty much the pay scale. We use HUD income guidelines, which are sort of based on total household income,” explained Hawthorne Welcher, Jr., Director of Housing and Development. “What I would probably say is don’t try to qualify yourself. If homeownership is of interest to you, give us a call.”

Welcher said that the program is just beginning but they are hoping to go way beyond 4 houses for local educators.

“So I think from here we also get louder. We’ll have conversations with the Board of Education. We’ll get in pretty much some of those arenas to be sure that the teachers of Augusta, Richmond County, of Columbia County, of Aiken County know that say hey, this is a new initiative that we want to push.”

The T.E.A.C.H. initiative is also another part of a plan to revitalize South Augusta.

To find out more information and to see if you qualify, call the Augusta Housing and Community Development Department at (706) 821-1797.

Photojournalist: Dania Alawir.

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