New Mpls housing program targets race gap in home ownership

The City of Minneapolis launched Homeownership Opportunity Minneapolis (HOM) on May 26, a new housing program aimed at increasing the number of home owners in Minneapolis and reducing the racial disparity gap in home ownership.

In the City’s 2015 adopted budget, the Minneapolis City Council approved Mayor Betsy Hodges’ recommendation of $940K ($840K for affordability assistance and $100K for outreach efforts) for HOM. It is anticipated that about 125 families will be served by the program this year.

The racial disparity gap in home ownership is defined as the difference between the percentage of White households that own their homes and the percentage of non-White households that own their homes. Minnesota has one of the worst racial disparity gaps in home ownership in the country at approximately 38 percent. In Minneapolis, it is also alarmingly high — at approximately 36 percent (2011-2013 American Community Survey).

“Having a stable place to live and raise a family is a goal that every Minneapolis resident should have the opportunity to achieve,” said Mayor Betsy Hodges. “The City’s new Homeownership Opportunity Minneapolis program will help make that possible, especially for diverse households.”

The HOM program will provide up to $7,500 in down payment and closing cost assistance to eligible Minneapolis homebuyers in the form of a zero percent interest loan, without a monthly payment. The loan will be completely forgiven after the home owner lives in the home for five years (all of the funds are repayable if a home owner moves out before five years).

HOM funds may be used towards any single family home, duplex, townhouse or condo anywhere in Minneapolis. Eligibility is based on income.

“Entry cost is one of the most significant barriers to home ownership, especially in an environment of increasing rents,” said City of Minneapolis Director of Housing Andrea Brennan. “The goal of the Homeownership Opportunity Minneapolis program is to reduce this barrier and make home ownership, and an investment into economic sustainability, within reach for many of those who currently believe it’s not possible.”

The HOM program is being promoted in partnership with Minnesota Housing and Minnesota Homeownership Center through the “Own Your Future, Own Your Home” campaign. The campaign focuses on home ownership as an investment for the future.

The partnership also focuses on providing information about quality, affordable mortgages available through Minnesota Housing. In addition, free, non-biased support is available from a variety of nonprofit housing experts.

The City, in partnership with the Minnesota Homeownership Center, has contracted with several community-based organizations to provide culturally specific outreach and communication support to get the word out about the HOM program. Organizations working on the “Own Your Future, Own Your Home” campaign include: African Development Center, African Economic Development Solutions, Bii Gii Wiin, EMERGE, Greater Metropolitan Housing Corporation, Lao Assistance Center, Neighborhood Development Alliance, and PRG, Inc.

“Greater Metropolitan Housing Corporation is excited to work with the City on the HOM program as our organization is dedicated to creating stable environments for families and kids,” said Marcus Manning, SHOP Marketing Manager and Loan Officer, Greater Metropolitan Housing Corporation. “Having a safe place to call home is one very important way we can help members of our community achieve that goal.”

 

Information and photo provided by the City of Minneapolis. To learn more about HOM, visit www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/cped/housing/HOM.