Press Release submitted March 24, 2020.
Habitat for Humanity of Minnesota, Minnesota Homeownership Center, and Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity have asked Governor Tim Walz, Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan, and Commissioner Jennifer Ho to prioritize homeownership preservation and ensure equitable access to homeownership in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As practitioners dedicated to producing, preserving, and preparing households for sustainable homeownership, these organizations were frontline responders to the foreclosure crisis of the Great Recession. As tens of thousands of Minnesotans face prolonged income loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic, foreclosures and the resulting need for family supports will increase.
“For most Minnesotans, our homes are our greatest assets, helping us weather storms and build wealth for future generations,” says Chris Coleman, President & CEO, Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity. “When it’s more critical than ever for us to stay at home right now, it’s also critical that we ensure those homes remain stable for families and neighborhoods. Our communities will suffer if we don’t do everything we can to protect homeownership through this crisis.”
Habitat for Humanity of Minnesota, Minnesota Homeownership Center, and Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity call on state leaders to implement immediate solutions to protect homebuyers and homeowners including:
- simplify Minnesota Housing Finance Agency (MHFA) funded down payment programs
- double funding for the Homeownership Education and Training (HECAT) program
- create a grant pool and lines of credit to help stabilize non-profit developers
In addition, the organizations request support for long term solutions including:
- provide MHFA with a significant infusion of down payment assistance capital
- establish a risk pool to incentivize lenders to adopt underwriting standards responsive to families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic
- continue to fund HECAT
- stabilize non-profit developers to ensure a healthy affordable homeownership market
“We know the economic and social fall-out of the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to evolve and will impact the mortgage landscape for the foreseeable future,” says Julie Gugin, President, Minnesota Homeownership Center. “What will help is if state leaders take planful, phased approaches to preserve affordable homeownership and ensure equitable access to homeownership. We urge them to protect homebuyers and homeowners now.”
Twin Cities Habitat is closely monitoring the situation and will continue to advocate for homebuyers and homeowners at the federal, state, and local levels. We encourage all Habitat supporters to sign up for our advocacy action alerts. You'll receive emails with simple actions you can take from home.