10 Things Your Faith Community Can Do To Encourage Homeownership

3. Encourage Families to Save for a Downpayment

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

Many families can't take advantage of special mortgage products, even those intended for low and moderate-income families or new homeowners, because they don't have even the minimum amount for a down payment and closing costs. Faith communities can educate families on the importance of savings, develop programs that encourage saving on a regular basis, even establish partnerships with financial institutions that make regular saving easy. There are a number of tools and curriculum available to encourgage savings, including the Individual Development Account (IDA). HUD's Faith-Based Office can give you additonal information on IDA's and other tools.

  • The Federal Government offers grants for programs to help organizations set up savings programs that offer matching dollars to the savings of eligible participants. The Individual Development Account (IDA) program requires mandatory budgeting and financial counseling participation to maintain program eligibility for the matching dollars. Programs across the country have had great success using IDAs to help families and individuals realize their dreams of homeownership. Go to http://faithtofinnce.org or http://www.idanetwork.org/
  • Faith organizations and congregations can raise funds to create their own IDA matching funds. They can also recruit participants for existing programs and support them through the process. Some examples can be found at http://www.BeyondHousing.org; http://www.interfaithinc.org; http://www.mnpartnership.org/.
  • If the IDA program is not possible, explore collaborating with local banks and credit unions to set up free savings accounts for your program participants. This idea could easily be coordinated through a Homebuyers or Savers Club activity. See http://natfed.org for some ideas.
Content Archived: April 9, 2010