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table of contents

FALL 2013

EMPOWERMENT MAGAZINE

Contributors: Antionette Kerr Executive Director, Lexington Housing CDC

Kassaundra S. Lockhart

EMPOWERMENT MAGAZINE

Promoting Financial, Community & Self Awareness

Independent PR/Marketing Consultant

Miriam Esquivel Housing Counselor & Foreclosure Prevention Specialist, Davidson County Community Action

Jonathan Bush City Planner, City of Lexington

Ryan Jones LHCDC Board Member

Elizabeth Shive

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Welcome

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The Affordable Care Act: What Does it All Mean?

7 Upcoming Events

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Alvaro Aldana

Antionette Kerr

Parrott Insurance & Benefits

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Parrott Insurance & Benefits Parrott Insurance & Benefits

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Community Champion Spotlight on Barbara Walser Kassaundra S. Lockhart

Habitat Celebrates 25th Anniversary Ryan Jones

The Benefits of Home Ownership Miriam Esquivel

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Every Penny Counts

Reasons to reframe the conversation about renting Ryan Jones

Phyllis Oliver

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The Future of Housing: What’s Next? Jonathan Bush

Cover Photo by Matti House On the back

Photos Around Town

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Phyllis Oliver LHCDC Thomasville Housing Assistance Program

Emily Kepley Moss Designer, Smoky Mountain Living Magazine & Smoky Mountain News LHCDC Staff Antionette Kerr, Executive Director Margaret Strickland, Bookkeeper Olivia Gaddy Fisher, Housing Program Coordinator Keith McCurdy, Director of Construction & Repair Phyllis Oliver, Housing Program Coordinator-Thomasville

Lexington Housing Community Development Corporation

lexingtoncdc.com (336) 236-1675 p • (336) 236-9408 fax The Lexington Housing Community Development Corporation’s Empowerment Magazine will serve as a resource of knowledge, information and empowerment for Davidson County. The magazine will feature articles and briefs such as but not limited to housing, financial literacy, community development, revitalization, foreclosure, education, self improvement, community champions and upcoming events. We will seek to always provide the citizens of Davidson County with the most current and accurate information that is available.


“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don't.” Author Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

Antionette Kerr, Executive DIrector, Lexington Housing CDC

Dear Friends: It seems as though people in Davidson County are often talking about how change actually happens around here. Over the past seven years, I have had the privilege of sitting across the table for many of these types of discussions. Our staff has traveled through communities with some of the same questions that many agencies, community leaders, neighborhood grandmothers, pastors and friends want to know.

Some of the most common questions include: • How do you reach people in this community? • What will happen to the next generation of youth? • What is on the horizon for our communities? In our quest to find solutions, we have come to discover that people are often looking externally for answers to community needs that really start within. For example: A customer and friend once stopped me in the post office to complain about the amount of litter in a nearby park. I listened earnestly for a few minutes and scratched my head in deep thought before giving her some of the best advice of my entire housing counseling career. “Why don’t you form a neighborhood group to take turns picking it up?” So when the Lexington Housing Community Development Corporation was awarded a grant that included financial literacy from the North Carolina Community Development Corporation, rather than purchasing more books or hosting additional workshops-we simply decided to bring the message of financial literacy and community development to you. We anticipate Empowerment Magazine will serve as a quarterly resource that will provide knowledge and information for Davidson County that features our partner agencies. The magazine will showcase articles from local businesses, government, non-profits and housing agencies. However, articles and briefs will not be limited to housing, financial literacy, community development, revitalization, foreclosure, education, self improvement, community champions and upcoming events. We will strive to consistently provide the citizens of Davidson County with the most current and accurate information available so you can truly partner with us in Community & Economic Empowerment. But it all begins with you! We welcome and encourage your story ideas and suggestions. Kindly submit to us at empowerment@lexingtoncdc.com or stop by our office at 21 West Second Street to meet our staff. Thanks to all our wonderful contributing writers and photographers. I hope their words inspire and provide each reader with knowledge, information and a sense of self-empowerment! With anticipation,

Antionette G. Kerr Executive Director Lexington Housing Community Development Corporation

Empowerment Magazine | FALL

2013

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The Affordable Care Act: What Does it All Mean?

Healthcare is always a hot button issue in political debates and on the national news. Lately, a media storm has been brewing over the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – also known as the Health Reform Law or Obamacare. That’s because the law is about to significantly change the way health insurance works by making it available and affordable to more people. What is the ACA? The ACA is a federal statute that was signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010. It is the most significant overhaul to our healthcare system in roughly 50 years. The goal of the law is to increase affordability and access to healthcare. The ACA does not replace Medicaid, Medicare, or private insurance. If you have health coverage you like you can keep it, in most cases.

How do people gain access to ACA insurance? In North Carolina, the federal government has created a new website that allows you to buy and compare health plans side-by-side from competing private health insurance companies. The marketplace will determine if an individual or family is eligible for a policy as well as the cost per month. This website is often called “the exchange” or marketplace. And, good news! Your local agent, such as folks at our office – Parrott Insurance – can help you through this confusing process and it costs you no more than if applying on your own.

When can I shop? The marketplace is not open all the time. In 2013, it opens on October 1 and closes March 31, 2014. This is called the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP). There will be one AEP each year. If you miss it, you may not purchase health coverage unless you have a qualifying event – like moving to a different state, adding a newborn to your plan, losing your insurance through your job, etc.

How does it increase affordability? The federal government will offer to subsidize the cost of health insurance for some people. Americans making less than 400% of the poverty level – approximately $45,960 for an individual or $94,200 for a family of four, may be eligible for a subsidy. Some subsidies could cover the full cost of your premium so you will pay $0 for your health insurance. In fact, it’s estimated that millions across America will pay less than $100 per month for their insurance, according to a Department of Health and Human Services report released September 17, 2013.

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The subsidy covers the full or partial cost of your insurance premium and is paid directly to the com-

Liz Shive

Alvaro Aldana

pany that provides your insurance. That way, you’re not stuck with a big bill waiting for reimbursement. And, the less money you make, the more federal dollars you get towards your health plan. However, not all people will be able to receive a subsidy for their health insurance. People who are able to obtain qualified health insurance from their employer will not be able to receive a subsidy for health insurance bought on the exchange.

I can’t get insurance because of a health condition…NOT ANYMORE! The ACA includes many protections for Americans. One of those protections ensures that health coverage cannot be denied to anyone, including those with preexisting conditions. In addition, insurers may not drop individuals when they become sick. The Act also says men and women will pay the same price and stops insurers from placing lifetime and annual limits on coverage. However, costs will continue to be affected by age, location, and tobacco use.

What do the policies cover? The ACA intends to provide everyone with access to affordable, quality health insurance. As such, the ACA requires all health plans to contain certain services called Essential Health Benefits (EHB). Furthermore, the ACA requires health insurers to provide access to preventive health services with no cost sharing. Thus, your annual physical at your primary care doctor could cost you $0.

What does this mean for my family and me? Part of the ACA requires most Americans to obtain health coverage or receive an exemption by January 1, 2014 or pay a fee for being uninsured. We know this law is broad and confusing. It also affects all of us in different ways. We’re sure you have questions, and we are happy to help. Attend an informational session at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. or 4 p.m. any week day at our office at 150 Weaver Drive in Lexington. Phone Parrott Insurance 336-249-7705 or or email us at benefits@parrottinsurance.com

Liz Shive and Alvaro Aldana are with Parrott Insurance & Benefits


Wife. Mother. Grandmother. Overseer. Executive Director. Humanitarian. Friend. Hall of Famer.

After spending a mere five minutes with Barbara Walser, it is easy to understand why she has earned so many well respected titles. The saying goes you only get one time to make a first impression. Within the first five minutes of talking with Walser, my impression was: she is extremely humble. Walser, a native of Lexington, By Kassaundra S. Lockhart never imagined she would be in the position she is now. As a student in high school, Walser always knew she wanted to help people. “I figured I would be a social worker,” she explained. “I didn’t think it would take me this far.” This far includes her current position as executive director of Davidson County Community Action (DCCA), a nonprofit organization that seeks to end poverty within the county. Walser, who started working with DCCA as a receptionist, upon her return to Lexington in 1965, has earned her ascent to the top of the ladder. In addition to working as a receptionist, she has served in numerous capacities within DCCA - administrative assistant, homeless coordinator, Community Service Block Grant Director and acting director. After being asked previously to accept her current role, Walser, citing comfortability as the reason, became executive director in July 2013. So what drives a woman of Walser’s stature? Her passion. Her passion for making sure the citizens of Davidson County receive the services offered by DCCA motivates her to continue to put forth her best effort daily. Walser is not only driven to help those in the community. She is driven by the desire to “help someone else so when I leave someone else can carry on the program.” Her ability to mentor someone to carry on the program is inevitable, according to Keisha Temple, secretary at DCCA. “Mrs. Walser is not only a mentor and a friend but she is easy to talk to and is a shoulder to cry on if you need one.” Miriam Esquivel, housing counselor at DCCA, echoes those sentiments and describes Walser as an “understanding person who cares about her employees and loves to help those in need.” Esquivel also cites Walser’s sense of humor as one of the reasons it is so pleasant working with such an easygoing “Boss Lady.” Despite the challenges DCCA faces, primarily financial, Walser continues to advocate every day for the program she has seen endure countless changes. “It is always a fight to get funding. All community

actions across the state are having challenges,” Walser explained. “Funding is difficult because a lot of people do not understand Community Action.” Even through the difficult times, Walser continually finds a way to get things done. This fact is not surprising to her colleagues. Kimberly Hume, housing counselor at DCCA, is one of those who never ceases to be amazed by how Walser successfully navigates through trials over and over. “Barbara is an overachiever. She will go above the call of duty to ensure that things get done.” Walser's ability to get things done has landed her the honor of receiving some of the country’s most prestigious awards. In 2004, she was inducted into the National Community Action Hall of Fame. The following year, the North Carolina Community Action Hall of Fame inducted her as well. Walser has also received the Diamond Community Service Award, which was signed by several United States senators. So what does Walser, whose plate is perpetually full, like to do in her spare time? If there is such a thing. “I like to go to the movies,” Walser said, excitement evident in her voice. And, she is blessed with a green thumb. She loves plants, especially gardenias and evergreens. Her yard is abundant with grape and muscadine vines, as well as blackberries, the latter of which she turns into “delicious pies.” In addition to her movie watching and green thumbing, Walser is the overseer at Lexington Deliverance Tabernacle. Citing faith, family and her job as her foundation for staying grounded, Walser beams with pride when she speaks about her husband, Donald, their six children and their 17 grandchildren. “My husband says I’m from the old school because I cook every Sunday before church,” Walser laughs. “I love to spoil my grandchildren. Sometimes I mail them stuff because they like to get stuff in the mail (from Granny B).” The Thanksgiving/Christmas season is one of her favorite times because her family is able to get together at one time. When asked what it is like having so many people under one roof at the same time, Walser simply says with joy, “It is fun! It’s really fun.” True to my first impression, when asked if there was anything Walser would like to tell readers about herself or DCCA, she immediately shifted the focus to DCCA. “Community Action is here to serve the people of Davidson County. We do have a website (www.dccommunityaction.org) if they would like additional information. They can always call the office to find out what services are available or come by. We are here to serve and we also want to work with other organizations.”

Kassaundra S. Lockhart is an Independant PR/Marketing Consultant.


Habitat for Humanity acknowledges

25 years with a nod – or ‘headbang’ – to the 80s By Ryan Jones Often lampooned for its wacky fashion and wayward tunes, the 1980s was a decade that saw widespread national and local change. Towards the end of the era, in 1988, one group in particular decided that significant social and economic change in Lexington should be built from the ground up. Born out of a desire to provide safe, decent, and affordable housing to local families, Habitat for Humanity - Lexington Area continues working to achieve its mission of improving the quality of life for all citizens by building homes and eliminating poverty On September 21, the organization fittingly celebrated 25 years of service with an 80s-themed gala that drew a crowd of 150 plus to the Edward C. Smith Civic Center. Big hair, preppy popped collars, neon accessories, and more than a few celebrity impersonators abounded (did anyone spot Boy George? Billy Idol?) as guests enjoyed heavy hors d’oeuvres, drinks, and live and silent auctions. Local musicians Ken Davis, Allison Crowell, and Second Wind performed period favorites throughout the evening while Sheets Dance Academy treated partygoers to a special Michael Jackson montage. “We just wanted to celebrate Habitat’s twenty-fifth anniversary and honor the founders (John Walser, Mary Davis, and the late Helen Brinkley) of our local affiliate” said Marjorie Parker, executive director of the organization. “One night we were talking about how to celebrate and we thought how fun it would be to see everyone come dressed up.” As she looks forward to breaking ground on Habitat for Humanity - Lexington Area’s forty-eighth house this fall, Parker explained the impact of the 94 homes (47 in Lexington and 47 throughout the world with ties to the National HFH) the organization has already built over the last quarter-century with the help of an army of volunteers and community sponsors. “We’re trying to break the poverty cycle. We can offer homes to the families we partner with for $80,000 with a mortgage payment of less than $400. In 20 years they’ll own their home and that increases the tax base in Lexington. It keeps families stable,” she said, adding that children who grow up in homes tend to have better test scores and are more likely to attend college. “It helps for generations to come.”

Ryan Jones is a LHCDC Board Member

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UPCOMING EVENTS Financial Literacy & Home Buyer Classes

Oct.14 & 15, Nov. 11 & 12, Dec. 9 & 10. All classes are held from 6:00p-8:00p at Davidson County Community College. Call Lexington Housing CDC at (336)236-1675 for more information.

2013 Holiday House Fri., Dec. 6th 10:00 am to 9:00 pm Sat., Dec. 7th 10:00 am to 2:00 pm Home of Tim & Robyn DeZego

Tickets are $10 and benefit the league’s mission of helping women & children in Davidson County

Holiday House Shoppes Free Admission Edward C. Smith Civic Center Fri. Dec. 6th - 9:30 am to 8:30 pm Sat. Dec. 7th - 9:30 am to 3:00 pm Refreshments will be provided.

Lexington Community Ministers Conference Annual Holiday Banquet December 14th 2013 Contact Minister Al Armstrong at the14jesus@yahoo.com

To submit an event, email empowerment@lexingtoncdc.com


Don’t wake up from “The American Dream” The Benefits of Homeownership By Miriam Esquivel All of my life I have heard about “The American Dream:” the right to pursue happiness and the freedom to strive for a better life through hard work and fair ambition. In a perfect world, some would consider this an image of raising a family in a big, beautiful house, in a nice neighborhood with two to three children, a dog and, of course, the white picket fence about which we all have heard. People work hard to be able to provide and keep this dream alive for their families. For the last three years, I have been able to work with many individuals and I have witnessed many homeowners wake up to the reality of this dream. Some dreams have unfortunately turned into nightmares. Many homeowners across North Carolina have experienced financial distress. A lot of people have lost their jobs or are working reduced hours. Others have been subjected to increasing or unexpected expenses. For example, death in their families, high interest rates, accidents and expensive house/car repairs. After experiencing such hardships, many homeowners give up the fight with foreclosure as soon as they receive foreclosure notices. This raises the question of how can homeowners prepare to successfully carry out their dreams of owning their own homes? In my opinion, there are several factors borrowers should consider before making such a big commitment. Here are a few pointers: 1. Pre-purchase Counseling is recommended. 2. Financial Budgeting is necessary. (Prioritize your spending) 3. Saving for a rainy day is critical. (Pay yourself first) 4. Make sure you are ready for the long-term responsibility. 5. Do your homework. (Study your homeowner rights) Maintaining the dream is part of the achievement and it is important you do what it takes to stay on top of the game. I have noticed the most common mistake some homeowners make when purchasing a home is overextending their income. Oftentimes, people are in such a rush to live out “The American Dream” that they will do whatever it takes to become a homeowner. Rushing is never advised. Instead, take your time and do it right. Be honest with yourself when it comes to your financial situation and make sure you are not merely making your budget work for your mortgage company. Know what you are getting yourself into and make sure you are aware of all changes that can occur during home-

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ownership. We all know things tend to happen when we least expect them. That’s why it is imperative to be prepared. It is also a good idea for homeowners to build a relationship with a local Housing Counselor who can guide them throughout their journey, before and after the big purchase. There are a lot of programs that can assist individuals who are dealing with hardships that may prevent them from meeting their mortgage obligations: modifications, special forbearance, repayment plans, refinancing options, even short sale and deed in lieu are included in the many options that may be available for homeowners in need. Housing Counselors all over the area are trained to assist individuals when facing foreclosure. ACT RIGHT AWAY! Do not wait until the very last minute to seek assistance. The number one mistake I have seen people make is ignoring the problem. Time is of the essence! The further you allow your mortgage to get behind, the harder it will be to reinstate your loan and you will be more likely to lose your home. The sooner homeowners consult with a Housing Counselor, the sooner the counselor can begin to help you explore your options. Don’t become victim to scams and companies that prey on homeowners in distress. Be aware there are also for-profit agencies that can only do the same thing with which non-profit agencies can assist you. In desperation, a lot of home owners tend to trust the wrong people. You should never have to pay fees for foreclosure prevention. Help is FREE! Never sign any legal documents without fully reading and understanding the terms. You may seek assistance from an attorney, a real estate professional or a HUD-approved housing counseling agency.

Owning a home is a great achievement and has always been part of living “The American Dream.” Don’t be rudely awakened by the reality that a lot of unprepared homeowners have experienced. For more assistance and information, contact us at:

Davidson County Community Action 15 E. 2ND Ave., Lexington, NC. 27292 (336) 249-0234 www.dccommunityaction.org E-mail: dcca@lexcominc.net Miriam Esquivel is a housing councelor and foreclosure prevention specialist with Davidson County Community Action.


“But you’re throwing your money away” and other reasons to reframe the conversation about renting

By Ryan Jones

The first thing I saw was the bright yellow caution tape. It took several seconds longer to register the massive tree trunk resting gently (seriously, gently) on the roof of my century-old home. As the beast of a storm that had recently blown through tapered off to a slow drizzle, I stood in my front yard and surveyed the damage, still in the sweaty clothes I was wearing when I bolted from my YMCA workout upon receiving the dreaded “you need to get home – right now” phone call from my partner. I was frozen in awe, vaguely aware that my chimney was nowhere in sight and feeling the mounting anxiety about how severe the internal damage must be. I remember quickly cataloguing the contents of the rooms that would have been affected by the punch of wayward limbs and feeling the stab of fear as I realized my only child – a tuxedo cat with laser green eyes and a penchant for window-gazing – was inside at the time of the incident. I secretly high-fived nature for reserving power beyond comprehension, an invisible wind that could uproot so forcefully a fixed object that likely had been in place longer than the city of Lexington itself. Noticeably absent from the random tangents of fears, questions, and observations I entertained was the terror of not knowing where to turn, whom to call, what policies needed consulting. I snapped a photo with my phone and texted it to the owner of the property, my landlord. What followed was a series of visits from insurance adjusters, contractors, and a tree removal service. Two weeks later my house was back to normal, sans chimney and the offending tree. Arguably, this is a best-case scenario for any renter. Not everyone receives such prompt attention from the manager or owner of their rental property, but the essence of the situation is relevant to anyone who, like me, lives happily on the fringe of the homeownership club. For all intents and purposes the cost of maintaining my residence is not part of my monthly budget. When disaster strikes, my savings account doesn’t take a hit and the headache is minimal. But beyond being free to outsource the fallout from storm damage and skip out on property taxes and homeowners’ insurance, there are more than a few reasons I’m in no hurry to stop being a renter.

At 28 and 25, respectively, my partner and I haven’t yet had the opportunity to build a solid credit profile. We’ve invested in a few big-ticket items, including a car last year, we’ve started paying off student loans and we pay our bills on time, but neither of us routinely uses a credit card and we tend not to make purchases we can’t pay outright for with cash. Though our financial situation is stable with a manageable level of debt, a purposeful savings plan, and spending habits that would make our parents proud, the reality is that we likely aren’t the best candidates for a stellar mortgage rate right now. Recognizing that time and consistency are our best friends when it comes to successfully courting a lender, we happily own our current identities as renters. Frankly, the jury’s still out on whether our longterm vision will ever include a mortgage. “But you’re throwing your money away,” I’m told matter-offactly by well-meaning family members and friends. To a degree, this is true, but only if the value you ascribe to homeownership outweighs the value ascribed to other parts of your life. In the midst of the resurgence of Lexington’s uptown district, my greatest interest lies in being at the center of it all in what many consider the city’s oldest neighborhood. Having the option to leave the car at home and stroll a few minutes up the road to my favorite urban haunts is worth the cost of my rent and more. Though I’ll be the first to admit that my future is uncertain (I honestly don’t know where I’ll be working in two years – a dilemma I share with many others in what we can all agree is a challenging economy), I don’t have the transient mindset renters are often accused of spreading. I’m in my neighborhood to stay for now and I feel comfortable investing in my home’s exterior, trying desperately and with embarrassingly little success to imitate the gorgeous flower gardens and landscaping of my neighbors (my thumb remains resolutely brown rather than green). But my next career move could easily land me in a new city altogether and I’m okay with that. The thought of turning down a thrilling job opportunity because I’m saddled with a house that won’t sell is nightmarish. All in all, my living preferences –flexible monthly finances, an urban environment, and freedom of movement – lend well to a rental situation. I love being a renter, but as with most things in life, it isn’t for everyone.

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Here are a few things to consider if you choose a rental agreement over a trip to the mortgage loan office: • Always read your lease. All of it; every word. Ask if you

to lose your deposit as well as your credibility as a renter (they check references!) Down the line a bad reference from a landlord could affect your bank’s opinion on whether or not to carry your mortgage.

can take a copy with you to read over before you sign. Most are standard and a simple Google search will likely give you a good idea of what to expect, but pay close attention to special stipulations that could result not only in the loss of your security deposit, but termination of your lease.

• Buy renters insurance! It’s cheap and without it you’re on your own if a tree unexpectedly comes through your living room window, ruining your brand new laptop. • Do you have pets already or have you considered adopting one? Not all property owners and managers are cool with that. If they are they’ll likely require a pet security deposit in addition to the general security deposit you’ll be asked to pay. Best to find out whether or not Fido is welcome before the U-Haul pulls away.

• Be a good steward and honor your lease term! Don’t be a house/apartment-hopper, but do treat the property like your own. If you don’t feel comfortable agreeing to stay in the same spot for a full year (this tends to be the standard term), be honest about it. Most property owners and managers can be flexible. You may pay a higher monthly cost to sign a six-month lease but it’s worth it when you consider that breaking a lease early could cause you

Ryan Jones is LHCDC Board Member

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Every Penny By Phyllis Oliver

Have you ever wondered where your money goes each month? If so, you are not alone. It is safe to say most people have shortcomings when it comes to managing finances, but many of us aren't aware of them. Identifying the underlying money management mistakes you might be making can help you eliminate spending habits that are less favorable and take control of your financial well-being. Let’s consider a few common areas that consume our money: Spending unconsciously. It is not necessarily the large purchases or expenses such as mortgage/rent payment, car payment, etc. that cause a person’s finances to spin out of control – although it is very important to live within your means. More often than not it’s the small, routine purchases that are overlooked that deplete what would otherwise be surplus monies for the household each month. For example, soft drink purchases. The average cost of a 20 ounce soda is $1.39. If a person were to consume three drinks per day, the cost would be $4.46 (tax added). That would be an average cost of $31.22 per week/$133.80 for the month! For two people, the cost would be $178.40 per month! That's a lot of pennies going down the drain for cola consumption. Another overlooked area is the amount of money spent during the workday. If you routinely purchase both breakfast and lunch during your work hours, you might not realize exactly how much you are spending. For instance, consider the dollar menu board for purchases. Breakfast $3.21/Lunch $3.21 – amounting to a daily cost of approximately $6.42. That would be an average of $32.10 weekly/$128.40 monthly. For two people, the cost would double to $256.80 – money, money, money! Another common and costly habit is not opening your mail. Avoiding bills and statements will not make them go away. It’s

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ounts

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important to stay on top of your finances so you know when payments are due. Taking time to manage your finances will help you avoid unnecessary late fees and additional interest charges. Incurred late penalties from bills might appear to be small fees individually each month but when you add them up you will notice a significant amount. Paying bills on time will help to improve your credit rating/score. This will be money saved on future purchases. Your credit score determines the interest rate creditors charge. The higher one's credit score the lower the interest rate will be for new credit purchases such as a home, car, auto insurance, credit cards, etc. Any money spent unnecessarily equals pennies wasted! Don’t forfeit cash on interest by making minimum payments. Try to allot extra money towards your credit card balance each month. When you pay more than the minimum you reduce the amount of interest that would otherwise be paid on each debt. This translates to eventually having more money in your pocket. When your finances are already tight it can be challenging to accomplish this goal. You can possibly find the extra money needed by reducing your grocery bill, changing to a cheaper cell phone provider or switching to a different cable carrier. Don’t be afraid to shop around for the best deal. There are a lot of options available for cell phone plans. Many do not require contracts. The proverb is still true: “A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned.” Acknowledging your past money management mistakes now will enable you to recognize and replace them with better decisions. Over time you will see that these new financial habits become second nature. Remember, Every Penny Does Count!

Phyllis Oliver is with the LHCDC Thomasville Housing Assistance Program.


The

Future of Housing By Jonathan Bush

What’s Next??

What are the emerging trends and challenges for the twenty-first century and how can the City of Lexington best position itself to lead and innovate as we move forward to prepare our community for growth and change? With changing demographics, a fluctuating political landscape, shifting consumer preferences, and new demands for housing types, what role will we play in the coming years? Lexington’s economy is shifting from a manufacturing base to a diverse economy and becoming more of a regional economic player. Lexington’s geographic position within the state provides many benefits that allow us to market ourselves as a suburban community of Greensboro, Winston-Salem, High Point and yes – even Charlotte! Many newcomers to the area like the idea of living in a smaller town with neighborhood main streets and a quick drive to a major city! Our highway infrastructure and charm is attractive to those with young families as well as young professionals, artists, and the aging population.

The younger generation will demand different lifestyle, housing choices, and transportation costs.

Studies reveal that consumers desire mobility and flexibility, and they follow job creation. As a City Planner I am often faced with questions that determine long-range planning goals. Do we have housing stock for the people who will be migrating to our area? How will the aging population want to live? What are their mobility options? People choose a place as a commodity. They don’t just buy a home. They buy a neighborhood, a place. If our desire is to have strong economy and a stable tax base, we must think about what kind of place we’re designing and planning for the future.

Jonathan Bush is a Lexington N.C. City Planner.

The Housing Market of Tomorrow

TRENDS

As it relates to housing, the Census Bureau, the American Planning Association (APA), and the Urban Investment Strategies Center at UNC-Chapel Hill all provide compelling data as it relates to housing trends. Data collected by the Piedmont Triad Regional Council reveals that Davidson County will have an increased population of 11.2%, equivalent to 18,294 residents by 2030. To those who work in the housing industry we must ask ourselves what type of housing will they desire? What impact will that have on the demand for various housing types? What other services will be impacted with the increased demand for housing?

The size of the homes and lots will get smaller. The aging generation demands are similar with housing types that require less maintenance, modest yards and the ability to be within short distance of retail, civic uses and healthcare needs.

Both younger and aging populations are asking for walkable communities

More walkable communities will decrease our dependence on foriegn oil and improve quality of life.

House sizes are shrinking and 1/3 of the local population desires more compact housing.

Just to meet the market demand, all new residential units built by 2040 would need to provide these housing options.

1/3 of the population favors rental

The younger population is waiting to buy til later and require upscape rental housing.

Demand fo multi-family housing units is growing, driving rents up.

New single family homes will need to be built to keep up with the increasing population and smaller housholds.

housing over owning their own house.

FACTORS

Walkable Communities

House Size

Rental House

Household Size

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d n u Aro n w To

Around Town at The Jazz on Main Community Festival, Big Day of Serving and Habitat's 25th Anniversary Gala

You Can ‘Do It Yourself’ Expo is a success On Thursday, September 5, Lexington Housing Community Development Corporation(LHCDC) hosted its first You Can ‘Do It Yoursel’ Expo. The Expo was held as an effort to educate the community about simple projects that could be done at home. The Expo featured presentations and one on one question & answer sessions by local vendors. The vendors shared their expertise on a wide range of topics ranging from square foot gardening, door, window, backsplash and carpet installation, evergreen planting, spill remediation and constructing a firepit. Vendors in attendance were Crative Carpet, Hedgecock Builders Supply, Lowe’s, Beth’s Greenhouse, Lexington Farm & garden, Lisa Jones and ChuckVogel representing Johnson Concrete. Attendees were not only treated to presentations but they also enjoyed free hot dogs, on behalf of Michael Evans Hot Dog Heaven, door prizes, goody bags and a visit from the Lexington Fire Department. Vendors and attendees both expressed their desire to see the event take place again.

Empowerment Magazine of Davidson County  

Empowerment Magazine: Promoting Financial Literacy, Community & Self Awareness will serve as a resource of knowledge and information for the...

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