Hosted at Freedom High School
Provided by Stacia Kelly
Fairfax-based AHOME Foundation once again hosts its annual Northern Virginia Housing Expo on March 19 from 10:00 a. m. to 3:00 p. m. at Freedom High School in Woodbridge, Virginia. The free annual event, which is held in a different Northern Virginia location each year, provides homebuyer and rental education classes, financial literacy classes and individual financial counseling.
If you need to buy or rent in Northern Virginia and don’t know where to start, now you do. This is a great FREE overview of options, assistance, and resources and the only regional housing event that brings them all together in one place. The event anticipates having approximately 75 exhibitors and has helped over 5,000 people in the last five years. There will be representatives from the counties of Fairfax, Arlington, Prince William and Loudoun, the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax and Falls Church and the town of Herndon, as well as the Virginia Housing Development Authority.
Bill Lake from Prince William County Office of Housing and Community Development said this about the growth of the program over the years: “The success has now come from the fact that a Northern Virginia group hosts the Housing Expo rather than the individual counties. Now, the Expo brings all the regions together. People can hear about all the services and have a larger pool of resources to make better choices and find out about what other communities are doing as well. That’s the biggest win for the program now. It’s grown each year. We are fortunate they selected to host the event in Prince William County this year.”
Workshops for attendees include Are You Ready to Rent? Are You Ready to Buy? The ABCs of Credit Scores, Local Market Overviews for renters and buyers, and Local Buyer Assistance Programs. There is also Free Financial Counseling provided throughout the day by Our Daily Bread, a Fairfax-based nonprofit organization.
Marcelle Miles, a Financial Literacy Programs Manager from Our Daily Bread, said, “Last year’s attendees benefited by meeting with volunteer Certified Financial Planners (CFPs) who gave their pro bono advice to help low to moderate income residents better understand their current financial snapshot and some action steps they could take toward resolving some of their financial problems.” Often, these are small, doable steps such as correcting information in their credit report, calling a creditor to work out a payment plan, prioritizing expenses, identifying needs versus wants. At the Housing Expo, the CFPs tell clients about further educational opportunities, such as a “Thrifty Thursday” class, or the opportunity to attend another of their regular free Financial Counseling Clinics, held in Alexandria and Chantilly on a monthly basis. Last year, Our Daily Bread provided 16 one-to-one 45-60 minute counseling sessions to attendees.
This year, attendees are encouraged to bring their credit report or other documents to review with a counselor during a one-on-one session, which will last about 30 minutes. The free one-on-one financial counseling is an invaluable opportunity for people to understand where exactly they are financially and what exactly to do to improve their lot. Our Daily Bread provides emergency food, financial assistance, and seasonal assistance while also offering financial mentoring and instruction services so clients can develop plans to move forward.
Sponsors such as Capital One Bank, Prince William County, VHDA, Northern Virginia Association of Realtors®, and George Mason Mortgage will be on hand supporting the Expo. A complete list of exhibitors can be found on the Expo site at novahousingexpo.org/exhibitors.html.
Please make sure to visit their Facebook page facebook.com/pages/Northern-Virginia-Housing-Expo and their website novahousingexpo.org/ as the exhibitor list will be updated before the event.
The event is free and open to the public, so make sure you mark your calendar for March 19 at Freedom High School, 15201 Neabsco Mills Road, Woodbridge, Virginia 22191.