First time home buyers getting assistance from Olive Branch organization

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NORTH MISSISSIPPI --  There's nothing like unlocking the front door to your own home.

But for many who don't meet the financial criteria, the home buying process can turn the American dream into a nightmare.

People are getting help from an Olive Branch organization that's turning vacant land into home sweet home all the way to Batesville.

One shovel of dirt at a time.

It's the first step in building a home.

"Is this real? Am I really going to become a home owner? And you look them in the face and say, 'of course,'" said LaTonya Reed,  consultant with Healthy Transitions Development Group.

The Olive Branch based non-profit helps smooth the often complicated road to owning a home.

Specialists work with the State of Mississippi and the Federal Government to find money for down payments and closing costs.

"Many folks do need some time to work through some issues they may have. And without the resources available with Healthy Transitions and other grassroots organizations, our job would be that much more difficult," said Blane Breland, USDA Housing Specialist.

Tuesday  morning Healthy Transitions broke ground on its fourth home project in Batesville, this one for a single mom and her son.

That brings the number of homes the organization built or is building to 30.

Regina Curtis just moved into her new home in Olive Branch with the help of Healthy Transitions Development Group.

"I'm so excited. I'm very pleased with the things that Healthy Transitions walked me through. I'm very pleased with house. I love my house...I love, love it," said Curtis.

She said she was hesitant to go through the home buying process,  but is glad she made the move for her sake and her two sons.

And it may be a while before the new home takes shape on the vacant Batesville lot, but Reed said more than the landscape will be impacted.

"Some of these people have come from a background where no one in their family has ever owned a home before. And they are the first generation to own their very own home. Now, we're changing generations to come,"she said.