Thursday, January 30, 2014

DC Housing Authority programs assist new homebuyers

News from NHC's family of members

by Radiah Shabazz, National Housing Conference  

Last month, NHC member District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA) celebrated 15 of its clients becoming new homeowners. The clients are graduates of DCHA’s three assistance programs: Family Self-Sufficiency, Workforce Development and Homeowners Assistance, which provide, among other things, job training and counseling, credit counseling and financial management and meetings with financial institutions about lending and mortgage processes.

The Family Self-Sufficiency program is provided as part of DCHA’s Housing Choice Voucher program (HCVP). Many clients begin in this program before enrolling in the Homeownership Assistance Program, a multi-year commitment that has seen more than 80 families purchase homes in the District since its inception.
To ensure the success of these programs, DCHA developed a new Homeownership Coordinating Committee that includes Bank of America, Habitat for Humanity and the Marshall Heights Community Development Organization to support new homebuyers before, during and after the home buying process is completed.

The advancement of innovative housing strategies like those employed by DCHA is a pillar of NHC’s federal housing policy agenda. We also work to build awareness among affordable housing developers and managers and service providers of the programs available to help low income residents build assets and achieve their goals. A plethora of resources on homeownership assistance and counseling, including down payment assistance can be found at NHC hosted a webinar last month that focused partly on our publication More than a Roof, which examined initiatives to increase the economic security of residents. The webinar also touched on the benefits of homeownership vouchers and how they can be used to mortgage homes.

HCVP Director Ronald McCoy said in a statement that DCHA clients “took advantage of [the] program and worked hard to improve their credit, attended first-time homebuyer workshops, developed personal and household budgets, and attended financial literacy workshops.” Noteworthy, many clients completed the programs while working or attending college full-time. 

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