Partners (Number 1, 2007)
Partners (Number 1, 2007)
Vol. 17, No. 1, 2007
FEATURES Courting the Creative Class: New Strategies for Urban Revival
Spotlight on the District—Florida
Credit Unions Open Doors to Homeownership
An innovative organization in Florida's Tampa Bay area is providing home ownership opportunities for low- and moderate-income families. The Credit Union Housing Partners LLC has created a unique collaborative to bring Florida-based credit unions together with developers, community organizations and government agencies to support affordable housing initiatives.
In 2003, two Tampa credit unions, GTE Federal Credit Union and Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union, joined forces to create a limited liability company, Credit Union Housing Partners (CUHP). The National Credit Union Foundation awarded a three-year matching grant to the organization in 2004 to provide homeownership opportunities for first-time homebuyers. Two additional partner credit unions, MacDill Federal Credit Union and Tampa Bay Federal Credit Union, have now come on board as well.
Partnership provides loans and counseling services
The goal of CUHP is to match those who want to buy homes with member credit unions offering competitive mortgage products. To reach this goal, CUHP provides potential homeowners with one-on-one services such as:
- membership with the appropriate credit union partner, based on eligibility requirements;
- financial counseling and group financial education classes in basic budgeting, credit report analysis and household financial planning to assist with homeownership and wealth building;
- homeownership advisory services including personal financial analysis, mortgage readiness analysis and advice about the homeownership process from pre-purchase to post-purchase;
- referral to various city and county programs that assist with down payments, provide homeownership education classes and inform clients about affordable new home developments.
Developing affordable housing
In addition to working with potential homebuyers, CUHP also arranges commercial residential development loans through the preferred lenders for creation of affordable housing. The organization has collaborated with private, government and faith-based partners to support several developments:
InTown Homes is an affordable, workforce housing development located in historic West Tampa. Seventy houses are slated for construction through this partnership among for-profit developers, CUHP and the City of Tampa. West Tampa Community Development Corporation and North Howard District will also join with CUHP to develop housing in West Tampa.
A USDA Self-Help housing development, Florida Home Partnership of Ruskin, will receive additional funding from Hillsborough County, and CUHP will provide some of the financing for homebuyers. To qualify, prospective homebuyers must earn 80 percent or less of the county median income. The development will include 205 homes.
Plant City Community Development Corporation, a partnership with a community-based nonprofit, is designed to revitalize an underserved rural community.
New Covenant Faith Initiatives Community Development Inc., located in Ocala, is a faith-based community organization working with CUHP to rebuild economically challenged neighborhoods with new homes.
Now completing its third year of operation, CUHP provides a model of best practices for other credit unions and financial institutions. By creating an organization staffed by housing professionals, this partnership enables Florida credit unions to participate in affordable mortgage lending. Such collaborations also support communities by providing additional resources for affordable, workforce housing development.
This article was written by Janet Hamer, regional community development manager in the Atlanta Fed's Jacksonville branch.