The myriad components of buying a home can be baffling to anyone, but they’re particularly daunting when language is a barrier.

Nunca he comprador casa y no se por donde empesar.

Alicia Lopez hears that quite often. It’s Spanish for, “I never bought a house before, so I don’t know where to start.”

Lopez is homeownership programs director at the not-for-profit North East Community Action Corporation (NECAC), and she is reaching out to a growing market that includes Hispanics who speak little or no English.

The myriad components of buying a home can be baffling to anyone, but they’re particularly daunting when language is a barrier.

“We’re telling people there is someone who speaks their language,” Lopez said. “We’re available and we’d really like for Hispanic people to call and let us help. We have programs that can make the dream of homeownership come true in Missouri, Illinois and Iowa.”

The U.S. Census Bureau data show the Latino population is 17 percent in Illinois, almost six percent in Iowa and four percent in Missouri. However, the agency predicts the number of Hispanics across the nation will double by 2050. Lopez says it only makes sense to offer more to Latinos while also continuing to offer information in English.

“We have classes in Spanish and English,” she said. “We want everyone to understand the home-buying process. This is just one more way NECAC can help.”

Lopez will participate in a Spanish language homeownership seminar March 24 in St. Louis County, and welcomes the opportunity to speak to groups throughout NECAC’s 12-county service area of Lewis, Lincoln, Macon, Marion, Monroe, Montgomery, Pike, Ralls, Randolph, St. Charles, Shelby and Warren counties.

The agency offers down payment assistance, credit counseling, homeownership training and can sign up qualifying applicants for programs such as the USDA Rural Development 502 Direct Loan Program, which does not require a down payment.

More information is available by calling Lopez at 573-324-6622.