Since 1980, Mt. Airy, USA has been an asset for community development in Mount Airy by providing the public with a variety of services. This organization, located at 6703 Germantown Ave., is a nonprofit community development corporation.
Mt. Airy, USA pursues community redevelopment through real estate development, commercial development and assistance to small businesses. In addition to its commitment to community redevelopment, Mt. Airy, USA provides housing counseling. The organization’s housing counseling is available to the general public free of charge.
Anuj Gupta, the executive director of Mt. Airy, USA, has been involved with the organization since moving to Mount Airy in 2004.
“We guide people through the home purchasing process to give them a foundation of information so that they can make responsible and informed choices when they go to buy a home,” Gupta said. “We feel good about the work we do and we think it brings value to the neighborhood and the city as a whole.”
In addition to personal housing counseling, Mt. Airy, USA hosts a number of workshops and information sessions each month for the public to attend. These workshops cover a wide range of information from buying a home for the first time to home improvement to foreclosure prevention.
Twice a month, Mt. Airy, USA hosts a first-time home buyer workshop. This workshop covers the pros and cons of home ownership and explains the process of buying a home. Guest speakers attend every workshop to discuss elements of the home purchasing process in further detail.
Cynthia Bradley, a housing counselor for Mt. Airy, USA, has facilitated the first-time home buyer workshops and all other workshops.
“People get to learn about the loan process for getting pre-approved for a mortgage. They get to hear about how to choose a home from a realtor. They also get information about why a home inspection is important when purchasing a home, and the difference between a home inspection and a home appraisal. And they get to hear information from an insurance agent about home insurance,” Bradley said.
First time home buyer workshop attendees are encouraged to pursue housing counseling prior to finding a realtor. Mt Airy, USA housing counselors will work with people every step of the way whether that is discussing your credit score or how to get a loan.
Lee Holmes, Jr., an agency owner at Allstate Insurance Co. and guest speaker at the first-time home buyer workshop, said he believes everyone should take advantage of these workshops.
“It is giving people free information in terms of helping them avoid the pitfalls that many people may fall into as a first time home buyer,” Holmes said. “I think it’s a very valuable resource for members of this community.”
Barbara Kelly, a business development officer for Citibank, said she believes housing counseling is something all home buyers should consider.
“Numerous studies have shown that people who go through housing counseling have lower delinquency and lower foreclosure rates than people who do not go through housing counseling,” Kelly said. “It is really important for people to understand what is really involved in owning a home. People at Mt. Airy, USA and a number of other housing counseling agencies in Philadelphia really focus on getting people ready.”
Simone Cartwright, a house inspector for Abundant Home Inspection Services and workshop guest speaker, said she believes the local community is very receptive to the services of Mt. Airy, USA.
“Mt. Airy, USA always has good participation. People who attend here tend to go through the whole process, not just the workshops. Even people who do not live in Mount Airy, but live in Southwest Philadelphia and West Philadelphia. They come from all over to come to Mt. Airy, USA,” Cartwright said.
First-time home buyer workshops take place the second and fourth Thursday of every month. The next Mt. Airy, USA first-time home buyer workshop is scheduled for Thursday, June 28.