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LandCastle House offers new beginnings for families in transition

National Mortgage Professional
Mar 24, 2014

LandCastle House offers new beginnings for families in transitionMortgagePress.comLandCastle House, LandCastle Title, Fulton County, Georgia, Olivia Payne, Morris Hardwick Schneider, Ahmen Housing Corporation

A partnership between the LandCastle Foundation and the Ahmen Housing Corporation to create LandCastle House in Roswell has brought new hope to at-risk families in north Fulton County.

Called "A Place for New Beginnings," LandCastle House is a triplex home that shelters families who are transitioning from a time of trouble to a life of promise. Community leaders will gather for a dedication ceremony of the new facility on July 9.

"Our goal with LandCastle House is to make a difference one life at a time," said Olivia E. Payne, executive director for the LandCastle Foundation, the charitable arm of LandCastle Title and the real estate closing law firm Morris Hardwick Schneider (MHS). "We created this facility after meeting with many local and state non-profit organizations to discover how LandCastle Foundation could best help our community. We learned that there is a real need in north Fulton County to help families in transition."

Payne met with officials at Ahmen Housing Corporation, which owns the triplex, and arranged for the LandCastle Foundation to adopt the project. Staff members from LandCastle Title and Morris|Hardwick|Schneider (M|H|S) worked to renovate the house. Volunteers stripped wallpaper, painted walls, replaced carpeting and tile and landscaped the yard. Local firms, including Solid Source Real Estate and Atlanta West Carpets, donated floor coverings, and friends from, U.S. Financial Services, a firm client, helped with the labor. LandCastle Title and M|H|S volunteers solicited food donations to stock the pantries. All told, more than 60 staff from the firm's 37 Atlanta offices came together to work on the project.

"We want LandCastle House to be a place where a family could be proud to live," Payne said. "We want it to be a place for new beginnings. That's why participants in the program will work toward self-sufficiency during their stay."

Families moving into LandCastle House must meet several criteria. They must be drug-free, have no recent criminal activity and have an income of less than 60 percent of the median. Payne said the foundation is looking for families who are in transition due to a crisis in their lives. Families will pay rent of no more than 30 percent of their net income.

In addition to a providing place to live, LandCastle House will also provide mentors from MHS and LandCastle Title to residents work toward self-sufficiency within 12--18 months of moving in. Families will receive instructions on budgeting, car maintenance, health care and family issues. Mentors will meet monthly with the families during their stay and continue for six months after the families have moved out to ensure they remain on a healthy track.

"LandCastle House is a unique program in this community," said Payne. "While there are shelters for the homeless and programs such as Home Stretch in place for when you leave a shelter, there is no transition between that and self-sufficiency. Some people find that step too difficult and fall back instead of moving forward. Plus, affordable housing in Fulton County is at a premium. There is a two-year waiting list for Section 8 housing."

Currently, two families have moved into the triplex. One is a single mother, with a 12-month-old child, who works as a dental assistant.

"She came to us two months ago. She has a good job, and is determined to turn her life around," said Payne. "The office where she works is closed on Fridays, so she began looking for other work on Fridays. This is the kind of person who can really benefit from the services we can provide."

Once the renovations were complete, Payne said the look on the young mothers face was worth all the effort.

"I never wanted to come home before, I always wanted to be other places," said the LandCastle House resident. "Now if someone wants to see me, they'll have to come to my house."

"I'm very proud of the LandCastle Foundation and the positive impact it has on the community through programs such as LandCastle House," said Nat Hardwick, LandCastle Title CEO and chairman and MHS managing partner. "Making a difference in peoples lives is by far the most important accomplishment our company can achieve."

For more information, e-mail executivedirector@landcastlefoundation.org.

For more information, visit www.closingsource.net.