10 Things Your Faith Community Can Do To Encourage Homeownership

2. Create Partnerships to Educate Potential Homebuyers

10 Things to Encourage Homeownership


  1. Speak Out About the Benefits of Homeownership
  2. Create Partnerships to Educate Potential Homebuyers
  3. Encourage Families to Save for a Downpayment
  4. Help Families Improve Their Credit Rating
  5. Teach Young People about Financial Responsibility
  6. Hold an Open House for Homeownership
  7. Put Your Faith to Work with Hammer and Nails
  8. Encourage Professionals in Your Faith Community to Mentor Families
  9. Help Your Neighbor by Going the "Extra Mile"
  10. Help Homeowners Keep Their Homes

Families sometimes are frustrated or intimidated by the standards required for obtaining a home mortgage. For some, it can take a year or more of counseling and mentoring to overcome these hurdles and become eligible for a mortgage loan. Whether out of a basement office or weekly gathering, faith communities can help families understand how to prepare to buy a home.

  • Faith communities provide an excellent opportunity for people to help people. For those in need of mentoring to reach their homeownership goals, the creation of support groups provides an important resource for fellowship and guidance.
    • Classroom-style training seminars are very helpful and are offered by a number of sources. A set curriculum and schedule, usually four to twelve weeks, is offered at convenient locations in many areas - or, it can be held at your FBO's facility - NeighborWorks® organizations (known in many local communities as Neighborhood Housing Services)offer these services in over 100 sites across the country. Go to http://www.nw.org/, click on "National Initiatives, Campaign for Homeownership, to learn more, download a list of all local programs and find one near you.
    • There are also internet resources that offer self-directed support. These programs are usually most effective to those who have only minor barriers to homeownership and are not in need of intensive, personalized support. For answers to basic homeownership questions see HUD's web site or go to FannieMae's homeownership web site (www.homepath.com) at for training and lending tools. The GinnieMae Your Path to Homeownership web site (www.ginniemae.gov/ypth) also offers tools that individuals may use to help determine if they are ready to become homeowners.
    • For those less comfortable in a classroom setting or who have more challenges that may take longer to overcome, the more intimate setting of Homebuyer and Savings Clubs may be a better option. These support groups provide a way for people to share their dreams, get training and have the support they need to reach their goals over a period of months or even years. The opportunity to have the fellowship and support of others with the same goals and challenges has proven to be of great value in helping people maintain their commitment.
    • With the help of a leader, small groups of eight to twelve meet on a regular schedule to learn about budgeting, saving, money management and the homeownership process.
    • Members share their personal savings and homeownership goals with the group and report their progress, challenges and questions at each meeting. They get encouragement, suggestions and guidance from the group leader and each other. They celebrate as each member, through their own hard work and support of the group, reaches their goal.
    • Homebuyer and Savings clubs provide an excellent way for faith organizations to promote financial literacy, saving and home ownership by becoming trained facilitators, setting up club sites, training new facilitators and starting new clubs.
    • Learn more about these programs at: http://www.hstreetcdc.org/ or
  • Often, especially for those with very difficult debt and credit challenges, long-term, one-on-one counseling may be the answer. Many of the same homebuyer training organizations that offer other types of training provide this option as well. To learn about some successful programs visit these web sites:
    • http://www.stls.frb.org/publications/br/2000/
    • http://justinepetersen.org/
    • http://www.cccsoc.org/
  • At the local level, many large and small banks, Realtors, credit unions and other organizations offer homebuyer training materials and volunteers. Check in your community for these partnership opportunities. See: http://www.collectivebankinggroup.com/ and http://www.metafund.org/
  • See examples of how faith organizations work together at http://www.revolutionarywebdesign.com/metroministry/; http://www.fccd.org.
Content Archived: April 9, 2010