Empowerment Resource Academy (ERA)

We provide free housing education Classes and one-on-one Counseling Services

ERA’s main focus is to educate families to achieve self-sufficiency, build wealth and maintain financial stability. ERA accomplishes this through providing pre-purchase counseling and education, rental assistance and eviction and foreclosure prevention services. We provide rental counseling and eviction prevention, mobility counseling, and resident engagement and empowerment services. Registering for classes can be done easily online, and appointments for housing counseling services can be obtained by calling (203) 290-4255. All of ERA’s classes and one-on-one counseling are free and most are provided live online.

ERA Programs and Services 

  • Pre-Purchase Counseling
  • Rental Assistance
  • Rental Counseling and Education
  • Eviction Prevention Counseling
  • Foreclosure Prevention Counseling and Education
  • Fair Housing Education and Housing Discrimination Assistance
  • Reverse Mortgage Counseling
  • Financial Literacy Counseling and Education
  • Credit Counseling and Coaching
  • Budget Counseling and Coaching
  • Benefits Access
  • Resident Engagement and Empowerment

FAQs about Homeownership and BNT’s Program

A home is an investment and a way to build wealth and economic security. When you rent, you write your monthly check and that money is gone forever. But when you own your home, you can deduct the cost of your mortgage interest and property taxes from your federal and state income taxes. This will save you a lot each year, because the interest you pay will make up most of your monthly payment for most of the years of your mortgage. In addition, the value of your home may increase over the years, which builds equity (savings). Finally, you’ll enjoy having something that’s all yours – a piece of the American Dream.

Well, that depends on a number of factors, including the cost of the house and the type of mortgage you get. In general, You need to come up with enough money to cover four costs: 1. Earnest money, the deposit you make on the home when you submit your offer, to prove to the seller that you are serious about wanting to buy the house…typically 1% of the contract price. 2. Down payment, a percentage of the cost of the home that you must pay when you go to settlement…e.g. as little as 3.50% with an FHA or CHFA mortgage. 3. Pre-closing costs such as appraisal and home inspection costs…approximately $1,200. 4. Closing costs and pre-paid escrows – the costs associated with processing the paperwork to buy a house such as attorney fees, title search and insurance, credit report, flood certification fees, title transfer taxes, recording fees, tax and HOI pre-paid escrows…approximately 7% of the sale price.

To start, you can use these simple mortgage calculators to see how much mortgage you can afford. If this amount is significantly less than the cost of homes that interest you, then you might want to wait a while longer before purchasing. But before you give up, why don’t you contact one of BNT’s housing counselors for a one on session? We can help you evaluate your loans potential and walk you through the process of getting pre-qualified for a loan. That means you go to a lender and apply for a mortgage before you actually start looking for a home. Then you’ll know exactly how much you can afford to spend, and it will speed up the process once you do find the home of your dreams.

Due to COVID-19, most all of our classes and one-on-one counseling are being done virtually. Class registration can be done easily online. Homeownership counseling sessions are done by appointment only. In certain cases we do in person counseling. To make an appointment, or for more information, please call us today 203-290-4255.

No. All services are provided free of charge.

This class will give you information on the home buying process from “soup to nuts.” This includes info on budgeting and credit and FHA, down payment and closing cost assistance programs, property inspections, appraisal and insurance, the mortgage closing process, steps to protect your largest assets – your home, foreclosure prevention, and predatory lending.

Some first-time homebuyer loan programs, such as Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA Mortgage Programs), along with all Down Payment Assistance Programs, require proof of homebuyer education from a US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Certified Housing Counseling Agency such as BNT.

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