MOULTRIE — One of the purposes of a homebuyer education seminar to be held Thursday is to help Colquitt County people avoid some of the pitfalls that contributed to the current housing crisis that has swept the nation.

Debbie Purvis, University of Georgia Extension agent, said the seminar is broadbased, addressing the “big picture.”

“It’s not just about buying a home, it’s also about staying there. It’s about getting credit in line to qualify for housing loans, and it even involves tips on maintenance of homes,” Purvis said.

The seminar, one of several that have already been held in Moultrie, is set for 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7, at the Colquitt County Agricultural Complex on Veterans Parkway. It is a joint effort of Extension and the Moultrie-Colquitt County Housing Team.

This particular seminar will have an international flair in that a Chinese news network will be on hand to cover it. Purvis said that it is planned to be broadcast in China during the OIympics. She said China has an interest in the current housing crisis in the U.S.

“We’re hoping to portray that if people are educated about homebuying, these kinds of things won’t happen,” she said.

These seminars generally average about 20 people in attendance. They have been scheduled for both English speaking and Latino speaking audiences. Even though this one is aimed at English speakers, Purvis said bilingual Extension representatives will be on hand. One of them is Andrea Scarrow. Also on hand will be Mailyn Perez.

Scarrow said the Latino community is becoming much more involved in home ownership in Colquitt County, and these seminars provide them valuable information.

“We have quite a variety of Latino situations. More of them are becoming residents as opposed to migrants. They are putting down roots and buying homes here. Buying a home is a new process to them ... even banking is a new concept to them. We hope to provide financial education as well,” said Scarrow.

There are an estimated 15,000 Latinos in Colquitt County. Scarrow said in peak agricultural seasons, that number may be larger.

Scarrow came on board with Extension after a mass murder of Latinos in 2005. The murders investigation involved Colquitt and Tift counties.

“My job was to advise them on getting into banking. Latinos had become targets of criminals because they tend to keep a lot of cash on them or in their homes,” she said.

Foreclosures have been high in Colquitt County as they have around the nation.

“I get a lot of calls about foreclosures. Some are from people who are tring to get a modification of their loans. Much of what our seminars are about is preventative,” she said.

Purvis said if a person is getting a loan via USDA or the Department of Community Affairs, that person is required to have homebuyer education.

“Andrea and I have been certified to provide that education,” Purvis added.

Since the seminars began three years ago, some 21 families have been qualified for home loans representing more than $2 million — a direct result of the project.

Purvis said those who want to attend the Thursday seminar should register by calling the Colquitt County Extension office (616-7455) or through e-mail at: ascarrow@uga.edu or dpurivs@uga.edu.

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