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Mon, July 15

WACOG’s A Hand Up receives $13,800 grant

From left are Bob Kay of State Farm, Herberta Schroeder and Joyce Lucero of WACOG.

From left are Bob Kay of State Farm, Herberta Schroeder and Joyce Lucero of WACOG.

KINGMAN – It’s 2 a.m. and you are awakened by the sound of a running toilet. This is the first home you’ve ever owned. Would you know what to do?

It happened to Herberta Schroeder, and thanks to taking A Hand Up Housing Counseling’s HomeWork class, she knew what to do.

“In the HomeWork do-it-yourself class, I learned how to make window screens from scratch, how to patch nail holes and larger holes with drywall patches and mud,” Schroeder said. “I learned about changing locks and door handles. I also learned how to fix the toilet that starts running at 2 a.m. That saved me a lot of money and panic.”

Schroeder went on to say, “We also learned about insurance, smoke detectors, budgeting and the importance of knowing who your neighbors are. They had tools to teach what we should have in our home tool box.

“There was so much useful information, I was glad to receive the work book so I have a resource to troubleshoot any problems.”

As the HomeWork program grows, Western Arizona Western Arizona Council of Governments announced the receipt of a $13,800 Good Neighbor Citizenship grant from State Farm to support the expansion of A Hand Up Housing Counseling program.

A Hand Up Housing Counseling program, which was formed in the wake of the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis, helps renters to become homeowners, homeowners to better maintain their homes, and homeowners who are in crisis to try to save their homes from foreclosure.

A HUD-certified Housing Counseling Agency, this program serves Yuma, La Paz and Mohave counties. Program funding has been received from various sources over the years, including the Mortgage Relief Settlement Funds.

However, as those funds have ended, the State Farm grant will help A Hand Up to continue to serve both homeowners and renters with the goal of building a sustainable homeownership community. A Hand Up’s housing counselors provide communities throughout the tri-county area of Western Arizona with free educational workshops that give new and aspiring homeowners the tools they need to put themselves on a solid financial foundation to achieve their housing goals and minimize the risk of default and loss.

“Those classes saved me so much money by teaching me how things are done, how to budget, doing inspections, and what to ask and expect,” said Schroeder, who also took a Homebuyer Certification class. “I was armed with information, so I was not likely to be cheated.”

Brian Babiars, Executive Director of WACOG, said, “Our A Hand Up Housing Counseling program prepares people for all stages of homeownership with the goal of strengthening communities and empowering people. State Farm, for the second year in a row, has demonstrated its commitment to helping us to achieve that goal so that together we can support our community.”

“State Farm is focused on reinvesting in its communities. A great way to do that is through our Good Neighbor Citizenship grant program and our support of WACOG,” says Martin Armijo, Yuma State Farm Agent. “We believe that together we can build safer, stronger, and better educated communities.”

State Farm Agent Cindy Topete, who presents at many of the HomeWork classes, said, “I am honored to be part of such a great program. I think this is one of the best types of education programs we can bring to our community. It is imperative that we educate our new homeowners about the uncertainties as this is often the first of many assets to come. Not knowing how to protect that asset can leave them in a financially vulnerable state. I truly take pride in educating our community and I have seen the beneficial impact this program has made.”

A Hand Up Housing Counseling is strengthening communities, one homeowner at a time.

“None of us were born with the knowledge of how to use pliers. The instructors made the learning fun, and easy to experiment hands-on with everything,” Schroeder said. “Besides the resource book, they also provided lightbulbs, basic tools and other goodies. This class was a complete godsend. I don’t know what I would have done without these ladies.”

About Western Arizona Community Alliance

Western Arizona Community Alliance (WACA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded by Western Arizona Council of Governments (WACOG) to provide community development and affordable housing programs in Yuma, La Paz, and Mohave counties. For more information, please contact Valarie Donnelly at 928-217-7195 or email


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