Residents of the eastern suburbs now have special access to a loan program that will help them make necessary repairs to their homes.
ESM-NS Federal Credit Union has given Home HeadQuarters $100,000 in capital to fund its FlexFund Home Improvement Loan Program, which offers low-interest loans for repairs or energy upgrades to homeowners throughout Central New York. The money donated by ESM-NS FCU will provide low-interest loans of up to $15,000 specifically to homeowners in the areas the credit union serves — East Syracuse, Minoa, Kirkville, Chittenango, North Syracuse, Cicero and Mattydale. Homeowners do not need to be credit union members to apply.
Home HeadQuarters is a private nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening neighborhoods throughout Central New York. They support community revitalization efforts by offering a comprehensive set of lending, educational, planning and real estate development programs and services. The FlexFund program is part of that initiative.
“We’re giving them the capital they need to lend the money for these repairs,” said Jessica Burch of ESM-NS FCU. “And as part of that, we’re requesting that the money go to serve people in the areas that we serve. The grant allows them to loan money at a low interest rate, so our customers don’t incur high fees, and it stays right here in the eastern suburbs.”
In addition to the $100,000 in lending capital, ESM-NS FCU also donated $5,000 to Home HeadQuarters for administrative overhead costs.
Karen Schroeder of Home HeadQuarters said the lending capital will allow homeowners to improve their residences, thus making them happier and more successful homeowners.
“A large portion of the homes we serve were built in the 1940s and 1950s,” Schroeder said. “They’re getting to the point where they need some work, even if it’s just energy upgrades. Those upgrades are critical — they can save homeowners up to $200 a year.”
Having a well-maintained home, Schroeder said, is important.
“That’s the key to a successful homeowner,” she said.
The FlexFund program is for those homeowners who might have only been in their homes a short time or whose credit prevents them from qualifying for traditional bank loans.
“This is for people who can’t just go to the bank and get a loan,” Schroeder said. “Either they haven’t built enough equity in their homes to borrow on them, or maybe they have some challenges in terms of their credit.”
Both Schroeder and Burch said that the program helps all involved.
“We get the capital to lend out, the credit union may get some new customers and these homeowners get their homes repaired,” Schroeder said. “It’s smart on all sides.”
To learn more about the program or to apply, call 474-1939 or visit homehq.org/improvement.
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.