A poor credit rating is one of the primary barriers to home ownership for people in southeast Nebraska. Fortunately, prospective homebuyers in the area have a strong advocate in Shelly Nissly, the new Housing Coordinator at Blue Valley Community Action PartnersBVCA started its Housing Counseling program in June 2016 to assist potential homebuyers in repairing their credit score by having a trained housing counselor work one-on-one with a client to identify what needs to be done, implement a plan of action, and monitor progress through monthly meetings.

Housing counseling helps people who wouldn’t otherwise qualify for a loan get mortgage-ready,” BVCA Housing Director Kim Clark said.

Who better to lead the Housing Counseling program than someone with decades of experience as an insurance agent and lender? Nissly is a Fairbury native who recently moved back to the area from Grimes, Iowa, a suburb of Des Moines. She spent the last 15 years as an insurance agent; prior to that, she worked for 15 years as a bank lender.

Clark said Nissly’s professional experience made her the ideal Housing Coordinator candidate. “Shelly is especially qualified because she not only brings her experience from the insurance industry, but she also knows what lenders are looking for when they are considering a loan application,” Clark explained.

Nissly said she wants to help people, and that’s why she came to BVCA.

I know from personal experience how important it is for people to have access to quality housing. I’ve worked in that field for a number of years; I’ve done the insurance and the lending part. I want to do it for another reason, to help people, instead of meeting retail goals,” she said.

Everybody needs to know things like understanding debt-to-income ratios, how to budget, where to look for savings,” Nissly continued. “Some people just need a little extra help to understand how to create and live by a budget, in order to get what they want, whether that means owning a car, getting an education, or more importantly, owning a home.”

Now that Nissly has officially joined BVCA, she will work on earning her certification. The organization has three NeighborWorks-certified counselors on staff already.

Nissly is a University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate. She and her husband Dan have lived in Fairbury, Steele City, and Syracuse in Nebraska, and spent 30 years in the Des Moines area. Dan is now retired as an insurance agent with the Farm Bureau, and the couple felt the call to return to their roots.

My family is here, and we wanted to get back to Fairbury. It’s a great community,” Nissly said. “When Dan retired and we looked at the future, we wanted to be someplace we could get around, get to places like the doctor’s office and the grocery store. It’s more convenient, and with the cost of living, your dollars go a lot farther in a smaller community.”

The couple’s son, Jacob, lives in San Francisco where he is the primary percussionist for the San Francisco Symphony. Jacob and his wife welcomed their first child in August.

BVCA’s Housing Counseling program is free and open to anyone in the service area, regardless of income. To learn more, or to sign up, call (402)729-2278 or email snissly@bvca.net.

BVCA serves Butler, Fillmore, Gage, Jefferson, Polk, Saline, Seward, Thayer, and York Counties.