New initiative aims to increase home ownership for minorities in Columbus
COLUMBUS, Ohio (COLUMBUS BUSINESS FIRST) – A new initiative designed to increase home ownership among minority communities in Columbus will launch next week.
The effort, dubbed Convergence Columbus, is spearheaded by the Mortgage Bankers Association, the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, and the Ohio State’s John Glenn College of Public Affairs. Columbus-based non-profit real estate developer Homeport will provide financial education to homebuyers as part of the program, and the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Agency is also working closely with the initiative.
“The goal is to create a set of messages that will help us reach residents of the community, those who are ready to become homeowners but don’t know they are ready or those who want to prepare,” said Steve O . ”Connor, senior vice president of affordable housing initiatives at the Mortgage Banking Association.
According to the association’s findings, the homeownership rate for non-Hispanic whites in the United States is over 70%. In 2016, the black homeownership rate in the United States was 41.7%. Hispanic homeownership remains below 50% and tends to increase.
Sonja Nelson, vice president of residents’ initiatives at the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority, said the initiative focuses on the disparities and racial inequalities responsible for that disparity.
“It’s not just about taking what’s already there, repackaging it and presenting it to the community,” Nelson said. “It’s really about taking a look at some of our current practices, our lending practices, and really understanding ‘How did we get here in the first place?’ then see how we can solve these problems.
Luecke said the gap is a problem because owning a home is a critical way for people to build equity.
“It’s the greatest source of wealth that a lot of people will have,” Luecke said. “It just gives or provides one more opportunity and I guess a bigger personal toll for this person or family can be used to help them thrive.”
Nelson said ACSM will allow residents to provide input and then use that feedback to create appropriate solutions.
CMHA already offers a family self-sufficiency program in which participants aim to free themselves from social assistance money by earning income through their jobs, Nelson said. CMHA also has a Home Ownership Program that subsidizes individual mortgages.
“I see my department as an opportunity to be able to bring people towards economic self-sufficiency so that they are supported by no longer having the grant, which will now give us the opportunity to serve someone else”, Nelson said.
The new initiative will be officially launched at a virtual forum on Wednesday. The forum starts at 9 a.m. and registration is free.
Columbus and Nashville, Tennessee, are the first two cities to pilot the initiative. The Nashville program launched in March 2020.
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