June is National Homeownership Month, a time when we celebrate the benefits of owning a home. However, National Homeownership Month also challenges us to do all that we can to make the dream of homeownership accessible to as many Americans as possible.
On that front, we have a lot of work to do.
For diverse communities, homeownership is a cornerstone of family wealth. Yet, for many minorities, homeownership has become a dream deferred. For Black Americans in particular, homeownership rates aren’t any better today than they were 50 years ago.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Many more Americans can step into their power to create a better life through homeownership if they have the support and the tools that they need.
That’s why HomeFree-USA is so very excited to announce the launch of Step into your Power: Prepare for Success through Homeownership, a groundbreaking initiative designed to empower diverse communities to move past the psychological and economic challenges that have been holding them back.
National Homeownership Month is about celebrating successes and rewarding economic gains. That makes this the perfect time to launch this innovative program because Step into your Power is designed to help potential homebuyers reach their fullest potential. This life-transforming movement will start in Baltimore and later be rolled out to other cities across the country.
At the heart of the Step into your Power program are the ideas of planning and preparation. Every achievement requires some level of preparation. Preparing families to be financially sound is what HomeFree-USA and our network of partners do best. In order to become successful homeowners, consumers must master their credit and finances so they can not only qualify for a mortgage loan but gain the skills and knowledge to maintain a home.
This program is particularly powerful because it has the backing of some business and financial heavyweights who have stepped up to the plate to give minority homebuyers the push that they need to succeed.
Author, educator and leadership development expert Stedman Graham has been teaching self-actualization principles that help people discover who they can be, and he will bring those insights to energize Baltimore residents as they prepare for success. “Having a strong sense of and belief in self provides the foundation for maximizing our potential,” Graham says. “We’ll begin in Baltimore where the need is great and the climate is perfect for the good of the people.”
Wells Fargo is showing its commitment to Baltimore by offering qualified Baltimore City homebuyers up to $15,000 for down payment and closing costs through a program called Neighborhood Lift. The move falls under Wells Fargo’s goal of creating 250,000 African American homeowners by 2027.
Freddie Mac is also providing financial support to ensure that Step into your Power reaches as many potential homebuyers as possible.
As we go into National Homeownership Month, we know:
• We all have the power to achieve.
• We all have the power to do better.
• We all have a responsibility to make homeownership as affordable and accessible as possible.
Through Step into your Power, we’re rising to the challenge of National Homeownership Month and creating a new pipeline for minority homeowners. We hope others will rise to the challenge and join us.
Learn more at www.homefreeusa.org.