ST. PAUL, Minn – NeighborWorks Home Partners has been awarded a $185,000 grant from the National Fair Housing Alliance’s (NFHA) Inclusive Communities Fund. This grant program is designed to help people access equitable housing opportunities and nurture stable, healthy, viable communities. Funds were made available as part of last year’s historic settlement with Fannie Mae, which provided $35 million to promote homeownership, neighborhood stabilization, access to credit, property rehabilitation, and residential development.
“We are incredibly pleased to receive this grant, as the award allows us to establish a down payment assistance pilot program for first-generation homeowners and reduce racial homeownership disparity in the Twin Cities. This type of initiative is particularly effective for people who do not have access to generational wealth and would not be able to purchase a home otherwise,” said Jason Peterson, Executive Director of NeighborWorks Home Partners.
“It is well-documented that Minnesota has one of the largest racial homeownership gaps in the country. This inequality is compounded by rising housing costs from the COVID-19 pandemic,” added Chief Program Officer Beth Hyser. “Focusing this program on first-generation homebuyers supports our efforts to close this gap.”
The Inclusive Communities Fund centers community relief for neighborhoods or populations that have been destabilized by housing discrimination. This fund empowers all individuals to access safe, sustainable housing of their choice; creates inclusive, healthy, and well-resourced neighborhoods; and addresses systemic barriers that limit equitable housing opportunities for everyone.
“Too many neighborhoods have been destabilized by systemic housing discrimination. We are ready to invest in these areas to rebuild communities of color,” said President and CEO of NFHA, Lisa Rice. Through this partnership, NeighborWorks Home Partners and NFHA will help revitalize the neighborhoods most impacted by the 2008 mortgage crisis. “We look forward to working with our partners to ensure everyone has access to safe, sustainable, and fair housing choices and well-resourced neighborhoods.”
This grant will allow NeighborWorks Home Partners to provide funding to 16 families buying their first home in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Given that down payment assistance continues to be the biggest barrier to homeownership for many families, the organization hopes the success of this program will generate additional dollars to support first-generation homebuyers who are Black, Indigenous and of color.
The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) is the country’s only national civil rights organization dedicated solely to eliminating all forms of housing and lending discrimination and ensuring equal opportunities for all people. As the trade association for over 170 fair housing and justice-centered organizations throughout the U.S. and its territories, NFHA works to dismantle longstanding barriers to equity and build diverse, inclusive, well-resourced communities.