Mayors roundtable discusses homeownership gap

Karen Pederson April 17, 2018

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has made affordable housing his top priority

This is an exciting time for affordable housing in Minnesota. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has made affordable housing his top priority, and the Governor’s Task Force on Housing has brought renewed attention and resources to the issue. Minnesota Homeownership Center has been involved in shaping the affordable housing conversation in Minnesota and emphasizing the importance in addressing the homeownership gap. We’ve also added a new link to our website that will take consumers directly to the information they need most as they take their first steps toward homeownership.

Mayor Frey’s Affordable Homeownership Roundtable

Our Executive Director Julie Gugin was recently invited to Mayor Frey’s Affordable Homeownership Roundtable to speak about the important role homeownership plays in building assets for households of color. She explained how addressing the homeownership gap will help create wealth for those households for generations to come.

The key points Julie stressed at the roundtable are:

  • Some down payment assistance programs may pose challenges for consumers, particularly if they are used in combination with other programs. Opportunities: 1) remove the stigma and confusion borrowers experience when faced with using multiple programs; 2) help ensure lower income households can compete equitably in a constrained homeownership market; 3) address reluctance from some REALTORS® and lenders to work with DPA products. The Center recommends down payment programs be pre-approved for a specific period and offer higher amounts to help eliminate the layering of multiple products that is required today.
  • Acceptance of alternative forms of credit needs to be standardized. Rental history, in particular, should be a more universally accepted form of payment history. Furthermore, an underwriting model similar to that of Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, which looks at employment stability differently than the broader industry, would be helpful.
  • The Center continues to advocate for additional funding of homeownership programs like financial wellness and homeownership education, as well as development dollars to address the lack of inventory.

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