Taking Back Our Neighborhoods: The Save Up program

By Ursula Madden - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Velma Lewis recently unlocked the door to the new world of home ownership.

"It feels so wonderful just to open your own door," she said. "It's just so amazing. I just can't believe it. I just lay here and I give God all the glory."

Once a resident of the Memphis Housing Authority's Dixie Homes, Velma bought her Raleigh bungalow in December.  It's something she's always wanted.

"It's better than paying rent because you own your own," she said. "This is going to be mine....I'm paying a mortgage.  When I get through paying a mortgage, this will be my house."

Lewis was able to reach her goal of home ownership through The RISE Foundation's 'Save Up' program, a six week course in money management.

According to The RISE Foundation's Linda Williams, participants have purchased more than 50 homes since the program started in 1999.

"They're surprised when they look at where their money actually goes," she said.
Williams said students learn to save as a lifetime commitment, which ultimately helps to build up neighborhoods.

"It's yours.  You're going to take care of it," she said. "You feel better about where you are living, and you want to make sure things are as they should be.  Home ownership brings about a great deal of pride."

To qualify for the RISE Foundation's Save Up program, or other programs of assistance, you have to be a Memphis Housing Authority resident, qualify for Section 8, or also qualify to receive the earned income tax credit.

To find out more about programs with the RISE Foundation or to donate, click here.

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