After a year unlike any other, we want to take a few moments to reflect on the work we’ve been doing through our Homeownership Center. We have a lot to celebrate, but we also recognize that those in our communities are facing challenges right now, especially in light of the current housing market.

Let’s celebrate our wins together and talk more about how to face upcoming challenges head-on.

Homeownership Center Achievements Since 2019

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, we had to quickly adapt our Homeownership Center services to accommodate North Carolina’s stay-at-home order. We knew that we needed to keep people engaged and continue to provide valuable resources, so after pausing classes from April to June, we shifted to virtual options to help people stay focused on reaching their homeownership goals even in uncertain times.

By working together, we celebrated some amazing achievements:

Bringing Home the Dream and eHome America workshop graduates:

  • 2019: 445
  • 2020: 288 (no classes April-June)

Graduates who realized their goal of purchasing a home for the first time:

  • 2019: 121
  • 2020: 110

New Financial Fitness clients served:

  • 2019: 120
  • 2020: 118

We’re also members of the Community Partners Loan Pool (CPLP) program through the NC Housing Finance Agency, which provides up to $30,000 in down payment assistance. Through that program, 46 families received a total of $1,355,814 in 2019 and 65 families received $1,876,890 in 2020.

Partnerships and Resources

Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic created unique challenges that families in our communities have never faced before. With forbearances and pending foreclosures on the horizon for many, our Homeownership Center took on even more clients for foreclosure prevention and financial fitness counseling.

In a partnership with the City of Raleigh, DHIC received $234,000 in mortgage and utilities assistance funds from the CARES Act to directly support Raleigh homeowners who have experienced a reduction in income due to COVID-19. To-date, we’ve assisted 15 clients with mortgage and utilities thanks to $64,848 from these CARES Act funds.

We were also selected to administer Wake County’s first Affordable Homeownership Program. Wake County has allocated $475,000 to promote wealth creation through homeownership opportunities. The program helps first-time homebuyers achieve the dream of homeownership and helps current homeowners to avoid foreclosure. We’re proud to report that our first client recently closed on their first home thanks to this new program.

Through the partnerships and resources, the staff members continue to help families navigate these challenges to help them keep the homes they’ve worked so hard to earn.

Success Amid Unprecedented Challenges

Brielle First homeEven in the most trying circumstances, we were proud to help so many people achieve their dreams. Among the 2020 workshop graduates was first-time homebuyer, Brielle. After completing the class in February, she closed on her first home just a few months later.

Brielle shares, “Coming from a rural community where most of my relatives live in homes that were built by their parents or great grandparents, I didn’t have a lot of resources to reach out to for guidance regarding the home buying process.”

After taking our Homebuyer Education class, she spoke to her experience, “I learned everything from financing to insurance buying. As soon as I left the class I told as many people as I could about the class because it made home buying mentally and financially attainable.”

Taking On the Challenges that Remain

After someone graduates from one of our Homeownership Center programs, there can still be obstacles to face such as market instability, accessibility, and affordability of homes.

It’s our job to prepare them so they can make the most of the opportunities that await them.

Our Homeownership Center Director, Sheila Porter says, “What we do is so much more than counseling and educating our clients; we’re empowering them. Helping our Homeownership Center clients increase their credit scores, set up savings accounts, and prepare for loan applications among other things, is all part of giving them the means to be successful by taking control of their finances and their opportunities.”

That’s why it’s more important than ever for us to continue creating new opportunities for our clients in the housing market and advocating for more affordable housing options in our communities. We remain committed to cultivating an environment where our clients can truly own their opportunities and put themselves in situations for success.