GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Families lost everything when a tornado ripped through East Greensboro months ago and many are still trying to find their new normal.
With the help of the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro, a housing counseling agency is teaching people how to prepare for the next chapter.
Housing Consultants Group, located on Summit Avenue, walks people through the process of becoming a sustainable homeowner.
Although the organization’s work is relevant in any season, its presence in east Greensboro has been particularly helpful lately.
Michael Mayo lost his home on Pine Street after the tornado and he couldn’t find stable housing until the end of October.
HCG was able to put him in an apartment after spending months in a hotel.
“It's a wonderful feeling,” he said.
Through classes, HCG provides guidance for financial literacy, credit repair and foreclosure prevention, among other topics.
“We know that there is less homeownership among low- to medium-wealth families in this area. We got a glaring example of that after the tornado because of the 1,007 people affected, 600 of them were renters,” Executive Director Sofia Crisp said.
Crisp says when you consider the down payment assistance that’s available, people in communities affected by the tornado could live in a home paying less than the average rent if they had access to certain resources and financial education.
Crisp wants her organization to help address the lack of education surrounding sustainable home ownership.
She founded HCG in 2004.
Crisp says the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro has been a key partner from the beginning.
“They actually gave us the money to open our first office in 2005 in the Self-Help building, and several times we've been able to go back to them and ask them for money for other programs,” she said.
HCG serves between 800 and 1,000 people each year.
The organization recently held a flash drive event to help people affected by the tornado create digital files of important documents.