Wells Fargo Grant Supports Homebuyer Education

Thanks to a grant from the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation announced May 15, Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives will have additional resources to meet the needs of a rapidly-growing homeownership education program. The grant will help support increased attendance in PCRI’s program as well as new program orientation sessions and post-purchase support.

PCRI Executive Director Maxine Fitzpatrick (2nd from left) accepts a grant from local Wells Fargo executives, left to right: Andrew Tweedie, Community Affairs officer; Tracy Curtis, Regional President; and Cobi Lewis, Community Development officer. PCRI will use the $100,000 grant to build 22 affordable homes for sale to low-income buyers displaced from N/inner NE Portland

PCRI Executive Director Maxine Fitzpatrick (2nd from left) accepts a grant from local Wells Fargo executives in January 2017, left to right: Andrew Tweedie, Community Affairs officer; Tracy Curtis, Regional President; and Cobi Lewis, Community Development officer. PCRI will use the $100,000 grant to build 22 affordable homes for sale to low-income buyers displaced from N/inner NE Portland

PCRI has experienced a sharp increase in participation in its homeownership program in the last year and anticipates further increases in participation due to a recent Portland Housing Bureau initiative prioritizing first-time home buyer assistance for families with roots in North and Northeast Portland. Many prospective homeowners introduced to PCRI’s program through the PHB initiative have already begun working toward homeownership with PCRI’s support.

“Homeownership is the most effective way for most families to achieve and retain stability within their community,” said Andrea Debnam, PCRI’s Manager of Resident Services. “This grant will help PCRI clients realize their dreams and build assets through homeownership, breaking cycles of poverty.”

PCRI offers comprehensive and culturally specific resident services, including the homeownership education program, to residents and the larger community. PCRI also partners with industry professionals to deliver workshops and individual support focused on every aspect of home buying and ownership. After purchasing a home, PCRI remains connected to buyers, providing post-purchase support. In addition, PCRI provides homeownership retention and referral programs to help senior homeowners age in place and retain homes they currently own.

The homebuyer education program is a component of a larger PCRI initiative aimed to mitigate displacement and bridge minority homeownership gaps: Pathway 1000. The initiative aims to develop 1,000 new homes during the next 10 years, prioritized for residents involuntarily displaced or at risk of displacement from North and inner Northeast Portland. In addition to current rental projects under development, PCRI is developing more than 20 homes for purchase by first time buyers in the next two years. Wells Fargo Housing Foundation previously committed $100,000 in support for the homeownership initiative through its Priority Markets Program (grant presentation pictured above). In addition, down payment assistance totaling over $1.7 million is committed for these buyers by the City of Portland Housing Bureau.

Since 2004, PCRI has successfully provided culturally-specific homeownership education, counseling services, and financial assistance to low- and moderate-income residents living in PCRI housing and in the larger community. Interest in PCRI’s homeownership program has nearly doubled in the last year and, with increased development of homes for purchase associated with the Pathway 1000 initiative, attendance is expected to continue to increase. The Wells Fargo Housing Foundation grant will help PCRI meet increased service needs as well as develop new programs.

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