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Increasing Homeownership Opportunities

Posted on: Tuesday, October 25th, 2016  //  under


Increasing Homeownership Opportunities

Every homeownership story is unique. No two buyers are identical, so no two pathways to successful homeownership will be the same either. But the clients served by the Minnesota Homeownership Center and its network of Homeownership Advisors face additional barriers and difficulties that make purchasing a home seem more like a saga than a short story.  Enjoy Evelyn’s story to see how we’re increasing homeownership opportunities:

Evelyn and her journey to homeownership.

Evelyn and her family understood the power of the American Dream. They had dreamt of owning a home in the U.S. but didn’t know where to begin. Fearful of being taken advantage of, and having heard horror stories of families losing their homes during the financial crisis, Evelyn spent months seeking trustworthy information about homeownership.

With limited English skills, no savings and no credit score, homeownership seemed like a dream that would never come true.

As an immigrant from a country where bank failures are common and access to credit is only available to a select few, Evelyn and her family operated entirely in cash. Having never even opened so much as a store credit card, Evelyn was far from having three ‘trade lines’ (different types of credit) that most banks look at when determining credit worthiness. And she was nowhere near the FICO score that would qualify her for a prime-rate mortgage.

A friend recommended she speak with a non-profit housing counselor at the Neighborhood Development Alliance (NeDA), a member of the Homeownership Advisors Network.

As a first step, Evelyn’s counselor recommended that she take LSS Financial Counseling’s Financial Literacy workshop at NeDA to learn the basics of budgeting, saving, goal setting and good credit. After she completed the workshop, her Advisor helped her open a zero-interest Credit Builder Loan through the Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers.

Evelyn’s Advisor also assisted her in opening a matched-savings Individual Development Account (IDA) at West Central Minnesota Communities Action. Evelyn’s IDA matches her savings $3 to $1 to help her save for a down payment.

With her credit quickly improving, Evelyn’s Homeownership Advisor helped her access one more credit-building loan program, this time through Associated Bank.

Even though she had to work for well over a year to build her credit, save for a down payment and stick to her budget, Evelyn never gave up. In early 2016, her Advisor suggested she take a Home Stretch workshop at NeDA to learn how to navigate the homebuying process and how to be a successful homeowner.

With her Home Stretch Certificate in hand, this summer, using $960 of her own savings, almost $3,000 from her matched-savings IDA account, and additional finances from her down payment program at Associated Bank, Evelyn was able to put down more than 10% on her new-to-her home in North Minneapolis.

Evelyn closed on her loan at the end of August 2016.

If you’re keeping score, Evelyn and her family needed the help of FIVE different organizations and their services in order to successfully purchase her home. Without the help of her Homeownership Advisor, it would have been nearly impossible for Evelyn and her family to identify these services available to her – and nearly impossible for her to own her own piece of the American Dream.

That’s what we do at the Minnesota Homeownership Center. More than 20 Years of increasing homeownership opportunities.   We work to support a network of 40 community-based nonprofits, tribal and governmental organizations that help Minnesota families make smart choices and build vibrant communities through successful homeownership.

Evelyn is just one of our success stories. Since 1993 we’ve helped more than 100,000 Minnesota families access successful homeownership.