Community Bulletin: National Homeownership Month
From the Editor
Dear Community Partners and Friends,
It’s Affordable Homeownership Month—a time to celebrate the growing communities in Prosperity Now’s Affordable Homeownership Network and Affordable Homeownership Federal Policy Campaign! Since the launch of the Prosperity Now Community last year, membership in these new groups has skyrocketed past 1,300 and 1,500, respectively. By clicking on the Network or Campaign above, you can join either group free of charge and connect with others working on Affordable Homeownership and housing policies. The groups also provide a space to share and discuss Prosperity Now thought pieces, such as the recent “Why Homeownership (Still) Matters” and “Financial Counseling Helping New Yorkers Unlock Affordable Housing”. If you’re interested in manufactured housing programs and policies, join our I’M HOME Network, which connects more than 2,400 members!
Fran Rosebush Baylor
Director of Field Engagement, Prosperity Now
Affordable Housing Organizations Offer Comprehensive Services to Better Meet Families’ Needs
Housing organizations have begun to provide comprehensive support around financial issues like credit building, savings and budgeting. This new infographic highlights data from over 60 housing organizations that have started offering a variety of services to better support their clients.
Through this work, we learned about a housing organization in Baltimore that provides underbanked and unbanked clients prepaid cards as well as access to direct deposit, which help avoid unnecessary fees and allow clients to pay bills online. We met Rochelle, a single mother of two girls living in HUD-assisted housing who uses the powerful family self-sufficiency program to build assets and start a 529 college savings account for her children, reduce her debt and save almost $5,000 in her savings account. We heard from Ms. Robinson, a client of New York City’s Ready to Rent Program, in which she worked directly with a financial counselor to successfully apply for affordable housing through a plan to consolidate student loans and raise her credit score. Learn more about how housing programs are integrating financial capability in this recent report from the Center for Community Capital at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Want to connect to other organizations and share more stories like these? Remember to check out the Affordable Homeownership Network to join a community of practitioners, researchers and advocates who are opening pathways to homeownership, removing barriers to wealth-building and providing support to those with the least resources.
Making the Case for Native Economic Development: New Tribal Data from 2018 Prosperity Now Scorecard
Renowned Native economic development and Prosperity Now Board Member expert Sherry Salway-Black spoke with Prosperity Now about new tribal data from the 2018 Prosperity Now Scorecard and Local Data Center, including how Native communities can use data for planning housing and economic development, advocacy with tribal and state governments, and fundraising. Watch the discussion
Practitioner Spotlight: Empowering and Strengthening Ohio’s People
Empowering and Strengthening Ohio’s People (ESOP), a HUD-approved housing and financial counseling agency, has served low-income communities in Cleveland and across Ohio for 25 years. We spoke this month with ESOP Executive Director Roslyn (Roz) Quarto to learn more about its broad array of financial capability and housing services, including foreclosure prevention for older adults.
ESOP’s origins in community organizing unveiled the devastating impact foreclosure was having on the low-income neighborhoods it served. Noticing that various neighbors were missing from organizing meetings, ESOP discovered that foreclosure was pushing longtime community members out of their homes—and out of their neighborhoods.
“What happened was, the organizers were out in the community having neighborhood meetings and people weren’t showing up. So they’re like where is Mr. Jones? And where is Mrs. Smith? And they’d go to their house and see foreclosure notices. That’s how we became the state’s largest foreclosure prevention agency,” shared Roz.
To keep senior residents in their communities, ESOP offers a Senior Property Tax Loan—a unique product provided through ESOP’s Senior Financial Empowerment Initiative—which helps older adults pay delinquent property taxes and avoid losing their homes.
Join us in celebrating the amazing work ESOP is doing in Ohio to ensure residents of all ages are able to purchase—and keep—affordable homes so that even those with limited incomes can enjoy the wealth-building promise of homeownership!
Across the Interwebs
Prosperity Now Community Champions Idaho Asset Building Network and AAA Fair Credit Foundation are among seven multi-sector state housing coalitions selected for Opportunity Starts at Home capacity-building grants.
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency at the U.S. Department of the Treasury released an overview of successful public/private rehabilitation financing partnerships to promote affordable housing and revitalization in communities across the country.
Camp Prosperity, Our New Advocacy Summer Camp
Kids aren't the only ones who get to have fun in the summer! Prosperity Now is kicking off its first Camp Prosperity on July 9 as a free, virtual learning and networking opportunity for members of the Prosperity Now Community!
Learn more about Camp Prosperity and sign up today!
Opportunities & Events
Assistant Director of Services, The Financial Clinic
Financial Empowerment Coach, Empowering and Strengthening Ohio’s People
Financial Counselor, Compass FSS, Clarifi
Vice President, Network Partnership, United Way Worldwide
UnidosUS 2018 Annual Conference, Washington, DC, July 7-10, 2018
Louisville NeighborWorks Training Institute, Louisville, KY, August 20-24
Community Action Partnership Annual Convention, Denver, CO, August 28-31, 2018
2018 Prosperity Summit, Prosperity Now, National Harbor, MD, September 5-7, 2018
11th Annual Financial Literacy Leadership Conference, Society for Financial Education & Professional Development, September 13-14, 2018
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)
The Senate appropriations committee voted to fund VITA at $15 million for Fiscal Year 2019 (same as the House bill). While this is not the $30 million our VITA advocates have been requesting, it is the same level of funding as fiscal year 2018. A big “thank you” to all of our advocates for their incredible work sharing data and stories with their Representatives and Senators to keep VITA strong!
Last week, the House narrowly passed their version of the Farm Bill that would put two million families in danger of losing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. On the other hand, the proposed Senate Farm Bill includes improvements to SNAP. Please call your Senator and ask them to save low-income families from hunger by protecting SNAP benefits
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
Consumer advocates should remain mindful of the recent nomination of Kathy Kraninger to serve as the next full-term CFPB Director, as well as efforts to give Congress more say about the agency’s funding and priorities. As opportunities to engage more deeply on these and other issues emerge, we will reach out with more information. In the meantime, please continue to call your Senators and ask that they support a strong and independent CFPB.
Credit Access and Inclusion
Senators Tim Scott and Joe Manchin recently introduced the Credit Access and Inclusion Act (S. 3040) in the Senate after the House version passed earlier this year. If passed, this would allow for positive rent and utilities payments to be reported to the three credit bureaus.