CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — A corner house with a white fence in Charleston’s westside is what Denise Cosby lovingly calls her “little queendom.”

Although she loves where she lives, her neighborhood is riddled with vacant lots, some that had caught fire, and boarded up abandoned homes.

“If homeowners take more pride in their properties, maybe it’ll trickle down, trickle up the street, trickle-down,” she said.

Cosby is now working to do just that as the West Virginia Community Works’s new Homeownership Center Manager’.

The non-profit caters to those who are at 80 percent or below the area median income; they say these are the people who sometimes don’t know they can be homeowners and just continue to rent.

The non-profit offers financial counseling, lending, and assistance with down payments and closing costs.

She says the interest is there — but people usually don’t have a good credit score to qualify for a mortgage.

“Credit reports are the biggest obstacles and I’ve said time and time again that we needed a housing counselor, a credit counselor,” she said.

On the flip side is Lakeisha Lloyd who works with those who are in danger of losing their homes.
A common theme now since the pandemic.

“I live near Edgewood on the Westside so you know those are beautiful homes over there, but they’re foreclosing, you know, left and right,” she said.

Lloyd says they create a crisis budget and see what they can move around.

Both Lloyd and Cosby feel that providing potential homeowners with solid financial literacy since the inception will help them avoid losing their homes.

Sill, their biggest loan product they say, is rehabilitation loans to fix homes in need of repairs.

Cosby says this can eventually bring more investment to neighborhoods.

The Community Works Homeownership center is taking appointments via zoom for all West Virginians and can be contacted at (681) 265-1656.