10 Things Your Faith Community Can Do To Encourage Homeownership
2. Create Partnerships to Educate Potential Homebuyers
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
- 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:
- 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.