A New Partnership to Guide the Financially Vulnerable Towards Homeownership
A large part of America’s housing crisis is caused by a simple problem: there are not enough housing units to meet the demand. As of 2015, only 24% of the 19 million households eligible for federal subsidies receive assistance. In other words, only one in four households wins the housing assistance lottery. This shortage in Federal subsidies creates even more pressure for affordable housing units.
Low access to affordable financial products, a shortage of affordable starter homes and other barriers keep too many low- and moderate- income (LMI) people at risk for homelessness in America. Manufactured housing provides a cost-effective solution to meet the demand for affordable housing across the nation. Although there are many myths about manufactured housing, the truth is that it remains the largest source of unsubsidized affordable housing in the United States.
That’s why Prosperity Now is excited to announce its partnership with Next Step, a nonprofit dedicated to leveraging expertise in the manufactured housing space and building relationships between the manufactured housing industry, nonprofit housing organizations and other key stakeholders to normalize factory-built housing as a viable, sustainable homeownership solution. Through Next Step’s Smart MH program, Prosperity Now will help expand homebuyer education to potential manufactured homeowners so residents can prepare for homeownership. Residents will be paired with counselors who can advise them throughout the purchase process.
The Next Step process has allowed clients like Robert and Chasity Woody to become first-time homebuyers. The Woodys have two young daughters, Calie and Aria. Robert is a Navy combat veteran who served in Operation: Iraqi Freedom, working on aircraft carriers. He now works in the corrections department in Buncombe County, North Carolina. Chasity is a stay-at-home mom.
The Woodys were previously renting and their situation was unsustainable. Their monthly utility bills ballooned to between $300 and $400, and their rent put an extreme burden on their finances. The landlord would often let water and other utilities lapse into disrepair, and there was too little space for their growing family in the small unit.
They knew that it was time to move forward. While they had been approved by their local USDA office for financing, they couldn’t find an existing home to meet their needs, and housing prices were high— and rising—in Asheville. At this point, their USDA representative pointed the Woodys toward Mountain Housing Opportunities—a Next Step Network member—and they immediately set up an appointment to meet with staff. Working with their Next Step counselor, Robert and Chasity purchased a home, increased their savings and now have greater control over their financial future.
Prosperity Now believes that whether you own or rent your home, it should be affordable. It is through the work of our committed partners like Next Step in the I’M HOME Network that we continue working towards Prosperity Now’s vision of ensuring everyone in our country has a clear path to homeownership