The second section of Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity's Supporter Town Hall covered our plans regarding advancing racial equity. Director of Lending Betsy Mills shared the moving story of a Habitat Homeowner who utilized the new Special Purpose Credit Program (SPCP) to achieve her dream of buying a home.
Asia Fitzpatrick wanted to purchase her own home long before she ever got involved with Habitat. A little over a year ago she got very close to owning a home but, unfortunately, her loan fell through at the last second. This setback only inspired Asia to pursue different methods of buying a home. With the help of Habitat's SPCP, Asia closed on her home just months after partnering with us.
Asia Fitzpatrick and her son at her home closing, Dec. 2022.
The SPCP creates opportunities for lenders, such as TCHFH Lending, Inc., to design a specific program for underserved groups, such as Foundational Black Americans. This unique program provides support when unforeseen barriers come up that would normally prevent the purchase of a home.
As Betsy points out, "Only 40% of black households in Minnesota can afford to purchase the typical house." However, after Habitat did a deeper dive on the participation in our own homeownership programs, it became clear that there were similar inequities among our programs, as well. For example, Foundational Black Households were the second largest group applying to our program, but they were also the second-least likely to buy a home through our program.
Several years before the adaptation of our new Strategic Plan, we began looking for creative solutions to help bridge this gap. We brought in Dr. Brittany Lewis and her firm Research and Action. With their help we were able to hear more from Black voices about their experiences with our homeownership programs and where they thought there was room for growth.
Financial Coaching Coordinator Melissa Hadley shared the three major components of our Advancing Black Homeownership Program:
1. Centering the voices of Foundational Black Homebuyers and partners in shaping our work.
2. Building strategic partnerships and lending our voice to Black inequity in the Twin Cities.
3. Implementing solutions to close the gap in our own program, including the Special Purpose Credit Program.
Additionally, the SPCP will coincide with a cohort approach to financial coaching, more flexible underwriting criteria, and additional financial assistance. All in the hopes of creating more equity. "We can make sure that all demographics are being included in the journey to homeownership," Melissa says.
If you'd like to watch the full Supporter Town Hall, click here. Or if you would like to read the full Build Forward Together Strategic Plan, click here.
Read: Supporter Town Hall Recap: Expanding Homeownership