The National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC), a nonprofit whose mission is to boost homeownership for low- to moderate-income families, is launching its GROWTH initiative in Delaware today and will expand to include up to 4,000 homes in 10 to 15 markets throughout the nation.
GROWTH is a partnership with investors and banks to purchase, renovate and sell homes, beginning in Wilmington, Delaware. Through the NCRC Housing Rehab Fund, the fund offering size will be $80 million: a $60 million debt investment and $20 million equity investment.
Not only does NCRC help with inventory shortages, especially for those who need affordable housing solutions, but it is also helping to improve lower-income communities, as it is dedicated to creating jobs for working-class families and making basic financial services easily accessible. The homes being purchased by the organization are located in the neighborhoods in which the families currently reside.
“It’s a private equity fund or a social mission fund. This fund will last five to seven years; purchases will be made throughout the next five years. And we’ll buy them, renovate them and either sell them or lease-to-owe,” said Ed Gorman, chief community development officer for NCRC and managing director for GROWTH.
“Our next city is Pittsburgh, and then we’ll be in Florida. We’re also looking at other southern states and New Jersey, and other Mid-Atlantic areas in the next 12 months.”
In addition to making homes more available to low- to moderate-income families to purchase, about 30 percent of homes are also being made available on a lease-to-own basis for people who in particular may not be qualified to purchase just yet.
And for those families, counseling for housing and financial stability to become homeowners in the future is made available. The organization plans to help get their debt-to-income ratio down, under 45, so they are able to obtain a mortgage. In fact, mortgage providers have agreed to provide mortgages to people who qualify.
In Delaware, where an estimated $40 million will be invested in 400 homes, about 100 locals will benefit from the new workforce opportunity.
The project is slated to provide construction jobs for the community as well. While it’s not a requirement that those individuals purchase the homes that are being made available, Gorman hopes it is the case in at least some circumstances.
The current model of the project is investing in communities, clusters of certain areas in particular. The GROWTH program is helping to promote homeownership for those who are ready to buy and make it an easier transition for those who may still need a little more time to build up their personal wealth and finances.
“We’re going to give the people who might have a a 620 credit score the opportunity to own a home. Are they more likely to default? Perhaps. But not so much that they shouldn’t be entitled to try,” Gorman said.
In Gorman’s eyes, a community with 75 percent or great homeowners is one in which the residents invest and care, they stay for a long time and they are engaged with the community. The GROWTH program and NCRC is standing up for homeownership.
“We hope to raise home values, help build wealth and build confidence that those individuals can do it again. We’d like to build a model that works for people to become homeowners who don’t have spotless credit scores,” Gorman said.
“It can be a return on investment, and we think we can do it. We can show nonprofits that this is something they can do, too, and see the kind of social change that they want to see being made.”