by Stacie Darden and Haley Solomon
June is National Homeownership Month, and the North Carolina Housing Coalition’s (NCHC) Housing Counseling HUD Intermediary Network has been celebrating all month long by encouraging their communities to learn more about homeownership and housing counseling. The promotions are in collaboration with HUD’s “Let’s Make Home the Goal” campaign, which aims to “generate awareness of the availability and benefits of pre-purchase housing counseling provided by HUD-certified housing counselors. The campaign is designed to reach communities of color that have historically faced more difficulties with the homebuying process due to systemic barriers.” US Census data shows that homeownership rates among Black Americans are 30% lower than that of white Americans, and housing counselors play a key role in closing this homeownership gap.
Our Coalition’s intermediary network includes 21 housing counseling agencies across the state. Each agency provides a variety of services to one or more counties, including pre-purchase counseling, financial management, and foreclosure prevention. Last year, the Coalition’s HUD Intermediary Network served over 13,000 families in North Carolina. NCHC supports this network through technical assistance, compliance monitoring, training resources, and networking.
Various of the agencies in the network offered a variety of creative community engagement opportunities throughout the month. Here are just a few examples:
In addition to holding a series of homeownership workshops, the City of Wilmington held an Affordable Lending Fair “for interested homebuyers to meet with lenders who offer down payment assistance and affordable lending options.” Lender participants included Truist, First Citizens Bank, and Self-Help Credit Union. “The webinar series and Affordable Lending Fair gave all who attended a roadmap to homeownership, but more importantly it gave them the confidence to take the first step!” said Suzanne Rogers, Community Development and Housing Planner with the City of Wilmington. “More importantly, they now know that with some effort homeownership is possible!”
Home Solutions of Davidson County hosted a free hotdog lunch “with all the fixins” to bring current and potential clients together with partner agencies and contractors. The event also included giveaways and a chance to win additional prizes.
Financial Pathways of the Piedmont partnered with the NC REALTORS© Housing Foundation to host a Homebuyer Seminar. Like many housing counseling events throughout the month, the seminar covered essential topics such as preparing financially for homeownership, down payment assistance, and obtaining a mortgage.
Housing counseling agencies play a critical role in helping homebuyers navigate a difficult housing market and in increasing homeownership equity for communities of color. Community engagement events held in June and throughout the year are a great way to connect with potential homebuyers and spread awareness about opportunities such as down payment assistance. The Coalition’s HUD Intermediary Network continues to innovate in creative and engaging ways to celebrate National Homeownership Month. Visit our website to learn more about our HUD Intermediary Network and connect with a housing counseling agency near you.