MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Bad credit is the main reason a high percentage of people don't own a home in the Mid-South.
A national non-profit group says it doesn't matter what your credit score is, there is help for Memphians who want to become homeowners or avoid foreclosure.
The Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA) is sponsoring an event called "Save the Dream." It’s designed to give people confidence about the American Dream of owning a home, despite the troubled economy.
"It's really important people get over the fear of not owning their own home,” says NACA mortgage consultant Justin Harrison. “If you can pay rent, you can pay a mortgage."
Harrison works with hundreds of Memphians who have bad credit, are in debt, and who never dreamed of buying a home. He wants to change the perception that it's an impossible dream.
"NACA never turns anyone down," Harrison tells abc24.com, "so we will work with a person as long as it takes if they qualify."
Another reason why Memphians don't own their home is they don't know the benefits.
"When you own, it's yours," says Harrison. "You're not paying someone else's mortgage. And number two, you can build equity at that property. A lot of people will tell you in order to get ahead, you have to own property because it's an investment."
Crye-Leike Realtor Steve Brown says his company sold 800 homes in Memphis in August. It may seem like a lot, but Brown says that's not enough to help the market.
"We closed $118 million dollars in the Memphis region," he says, "which is up about 7 percent in volume and about 34 percent in units."
While there may be plenty of houses for sale, and great deals out there, it's going to take time to restore the American Dream.
There are almost 1,500 foreclosed homes in Shelby County. More than 4,000 homes are in bankruptcy.
The "Save the Dream” tour in Memphis will start October 13th and run through the 17th at the Cook Convention Center. Big mortgage lenders will be there, including Fannie May, Freddie Mac and Bank of America.
People can get on the spot loan modifications. The event is free.