Home ownership is at the base of America's greater affluence than other countries.

The federal government encourages people to buy the homes they live in through various tax breaks. Homeowners take more pride in their property than tenants do in the homes they rent. They spend money and time improving their biggest investment and asset.

Two local initiatives are helping to get more people into their own homes.

Valdosta Project Change is helping minorities to buy homes through an ongoing educational program. It works with the Community Banking Coalition, composed of eight member banks, which provides mortgages to low- and moderate-income families.

The local chapter of Habitat for Humanity is planning to build 50 new homes through the upcoming Jimmy Carter Work Project. Habitat homes are built with the help of the designated buyers, who are given no-interest mortgages.

In both cases, families with low incomes who might not otherwise be eligible for mortgages will have chances to create a sound economic foundation by paying for and owning their own homes.

We urge the community to support both these groups in their efforts to increase home ownership in the Valdosta area.

Habitat invites families interested in building a house to a meeting from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at Park Avenue United Methodist Church. About 40 more families are being sought. No registration is necessary. For more information, call 245-1330.

The next education program sponsored by Valdosta Project Change and the Community Banking Coalition is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 9 at 807 N. Patterson St. It's free and lunch is provided. Call 245-3872 to register.

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