SELF home improvement program alternative to controversial PACE financing

NBC 8 On Your Side

By Mark Douglas

July 27, 2018

SELF was featured in this publication where it emphasizes how SELF’s objective is to help, not profit. To read the full article, click here.
Here is an excerpt,

Sylvia Thompson waited patiently Thursday for a technician to install a new air conditioning unit in her modest St. Petersburg home. Not a life changing moment for most people, but it sure is for Thompson.

She has two adult sons, both disabled, and one of them is prone to seizures in the summer heat.

“My youngest son, he’s got epilepsy so it’s very important for me to have it for him,” Thompson said.

Purchasing a new A/C system was impossible for Thompson until she found out about the SELF Home Improvement Financing Program, a nonprofit initiative tailored to help working class homeowners just like her.

SELF managers say they’ve helped 850 homeowners finance $7.4 million worth of renovations in 25 Florida counties.

“Because we’re a nonprofit, we’re not trying to push loans on people who can’t afford it. Quite the opposite,” said SELF CEO Doug Coward.

“We’re actually building a loan around their ability to pay as opposed to pushing a loan on them that’s beyond their means.”

Doug Coward

Coward says SELF is funded by government grants, churches and private investors and now has partnership agreements with the City of St. Petersburg and Hillsborough County.

An 8 On Your Side investigation of the unrelated PACE home improvement financing program uncovered a number of unscrupulous contractors and loan providers who seemed eager to burden homeowners with long term loans they couldn’t afford, a debt that showed up as a special assessment on their property taxes.

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