Group Sets Low-Income Residents `HomeFree': Buying a Home Is Now Possible

By Berg, Stacie Zoe | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), July 26, 1996 | Go to article overview

Group Sets Low-Income Residents `HomeFree': Buying a Home Is Now Possible


Berg, Stacie Zoe, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


For most people, buying a home is the American dream. It can open doors beyond the welcome mat.

"People are looked at differently by financial institutions when they own," says Marcia Griffin, president of HomeFree-USA, a nonprofit organization that helps people in underserved communities buy homes.

She says money you invest in your home can be used later to send your children to college. And you can borrow against the cost of your home to open a business. Essentially, the purchase of a home is an investment in yourself and your family, she says.

But "for African-Americans . . . there was no hope [for years] of most of us getting a home because . . . many of us didn't know the importance, and many of us didn't have the down payment, so didn't meet the requirements," says Jacqueline Johnson, a HomeFree member. "[I]f you did know the importance and you had the down payment or met the requirements, then the racism when you got to the loan table would cut you off."

But things are changing. There are stricter laws against discrimination, and the mortgage industry is realizing that there's a relatively untapped market available. HomeFree is bridging the gap between lenders and low-income groups.

"Underserved communities are looking for a helping hand, not a handout," Mrs. Griffin says. As a black woman and someone with a background in mortgaging, she sees the potential benefits from both points of view. People in underserved groups need someone they trust to educate them and to give them hope. She also knows that a tremendous business potential exists for lenders.

HomeFree is run by experienced mortgage professionals, and its goal is to create loan success "not by lowering mortgage requirements to meet people, but by elevating people to meet mortgage requirements," according to information published by the group.

HomeFree has attracted most of its 680 members through church outreach programs. During the past month, 51 members have received pre-approval letters for mortgage loans.

After double-digit hours of educational programs and personal counseling, HomeFree members are able to secure loans by reputable lenders. HomeFree keeps track of its members for at least two years after the purchase to ensure that they are successful homeowners.

"One of the most important things that they offer is information in the form

of seminars, guidance, one-on-one interviews and sessions where you have groups as well," Mrs. Johnson says.

The group also conducts follow-up activities. "They protect the fruit that they have planted through that seed," Mrs. Johnson says.

"We feel that none of our people will default," Mrs. Griffin says. So far, none of the 53 buyers has done so. She says the education and motivation HomeFree members receive are the reasons for the success record.

Freddie Mac, which buys loans from lenders, has aligned itself with HomeFree's pilot program. It has provided software and training to HomeFree's staff and has agreed to purchase the loans issued to HomeFree members. This alliance provides an incentive for lenders to work with underserved groups.

"We'll take the responsibility for bringing the lenders to the local table . . . going to city government with HomeFree, going to our other institutional players, where it's appropriate," says Dan Russell, vice president of community-development lending at Freddie Mac.

HomeFree's lending partner is Chevy Chase Bank, which is offering a down-payment and closing-cost assistance program. Buyers must have at least $3,000 to make a 97 percent mortgage. HomeFree members can receive as much as $4,500 as a grant toward their down payments and closing costs. Or they can get $2,500 as a grant and a pay a lower interest rate. A third option has no grant but an even lower interest rate.

Purchasing a home is a complicated process that can easily intimidate buyers. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Group Sets Low-Income Residents `HomeFree': Buying a Home Is Now Possible
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.