WOW Homeownership POW-WOW in Miami-Dade County

In honor of National Homeownership Month in Miami and to further the efforts of the Department to increase homeownership among minority families, Miami Field Office staff organized and took part in the WOW Homeownership POW-WOW sponsored by Congresswoman Carrie P. Meek and the Miami-Dade County Affordable Housing Foundation.

With Ownership Wealth (WOW) is an initiative sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation to try to increase minority homeownership by one million households during the next three years. Thirty-eight members of the caucus have pledged to increase homeownership within their districts.

Congresswoman Carrie P. Meek organized a committee of local and federal housing agencies to conduct a celebration of homeownership in her congressional district 17. Unlike most homebuyer fairs, the POW-WOW brought together recent homebuyers from district 17 to celebrate their success. Congresswoman Meek personally invited over 100 families who had recently become homeowners or who were nearly there to attend the celebration and presented each family with a certificate and a photo with the congresswoman. Over 400 people, including 40 local partners from the lending community, credit counseling and housing counseling agencies, non-profit affordable housing providers, and state, federal, and local housing agencies, attended the celebration.

The ceremony was opened by a color guard from the Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida followed with an invocation by Minister Robert Tyler from the New Birth Baptist Church. Welcome remarks were made by Shalley Jones, Director, Fannie Mae South Florida Partnership Office. Orlando Lorié, Director, Miami Field Office, congratulated the new homeowners and emphasized the need to increase homeownership in the minority community. Speakers from organizations a homebuyer would meet along the path to homeownership, such as a counselor, a lender, and a housing developer, spoke briefly about their programs and introduced a successful homebuyer to speak about the experience. The presentations from the successful homeowners were the most moving part for the many would-be homebuyers in the audience. After the presentations, people in the audience had a chance to talk with housing industry professionals at their booths.

This event showed the eagerness and fortitude of the local partners in the Miami area. It also shows the accomplishments that can be made when federal, local and state governments, local non-profits and other local businesses and organizations work together as one to combat issues reducing homeownership in minority areas. Finally, it was an innovation in the traditional homebuyer fair model in that creative presentations described the process in a meaningful way that drew on actual homebuyers' experience.


Content Archived: July 8, 2011