Keeping the economy moving during the pandemic

Essential services are provided by Community Action Agencies every day. During the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring those services have continued has been our network’s top priority. Food, housing, education, healthcare, and more keeps Ohioans safe and healthy, and Community Action remains at the helm.

Operations have had to adjust, though the network has adapted quickly to continue progress and move forward. Human Resources departments have adjusted by adding virtual interviews to continue hiring and maintain full staff capacity, and departments have initiated online meetings to stay in touch with each other and keep clients moving towards their goals.

West Ohio Community Action Partnership, and Ohio’s 46 other CAAs, have worked tirelessly to not only provide emergency services but to keep the economy going. The housing department, for example, has transitioned to online financial management courses to keep the local housing marketing moving.

When the Stay At Home orders were put in place in March, several first-time buyers were in the middle of their financial management coursework. Fearing their progress would stall, WOCAP quickly made adjustments to utilize web technology to move coursework and case management online.

Some clients voiced concerns about how they could proceed,” said Christina Johnson, Housing Coordinator at WOCAP. “They were worried closings that were scheduled wouldn’t proceed and they’d miss out on all the progress they had made.”

Christina and the rest of the housing department worked closely with the title companies to calm their customer’s fears. “Closing documents were dropped off and completed together instead of separate closings for the downpayment assistance and the purchase to keep contact limited,” Johnson explained. “The number of people allowed at the closing table was reduced, though they are all able to complete the closing and purchase their homes.”

It can take between a few months to a few years to close a home purchase, depending on where the customer is financially when they begin the program. Moving to a virtual counseling environment allowed progress to continue and gave confidence to the buyers while keeping the economy moving. Three WOCAP clients successfully closed on home purchases since the Stay At Home orders began. More are working towards that goal, and four closings are scheduled within the next two weeks!

To learn more about the downpayment assistance program at WOCAP, visit their website.