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Outreach program gets African Americans in homes faster

Downtown Baltimore
Downtown Baltimore
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Historically disenfranchised groups gain advantage by participating in organizations like The African American Alliance to gain economic stability and homeownership status. Access to homebuyer resources and education is now open to African American or minority communities like never before because of organizations like the AAAH. These non-profit organizations exist due to the racial housing gap caused by redlining, predatory lending practices, prejudice laws and policies that slowed down minorities' access to homeownership.

Since 1999, the Alliance has been successful in stimulating home buying activities and resources through innovative programs like the Homebuyer Coaching Project, Annual Homebuyer Fair, IDA Program (match savings fund), One-on-One Homebuyer Counseling, Homebuyer Education Classes, MHAC Financial Assistance and Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention help to assist minorities in being successful and educated homebuyers and owners.

Programs like the "Homebuyer Coaching Project" is one unique initiative providing guidance and encouragement to individuals and families. The project was designed to incorporate a peer-to-peer support system, using trained volunteer coaches to address challenges and barriers experienced by prospective homebuyers as they move through the process.

Groups who've historically experienced barriers and challenges when trying to purchase homes in the past now have an option to participate in counseling programs like the Budget and Spending, Savings and Planning, Credit, and other specific programs that were created to educate future home owners through the African American Alliance.

Don't have your finances together? The African American Alliance can help. If you're a first-time home buyer then you may take advantage of their IDA program which matches the amount you saved for purchasing a house. The IDA program was designed to not only match your funds, but to support income eligible families wanting to build their financial assets while simultaneously providing families incentives to save.

By establishing a savings account, if you don't have one, you can participate in the IDA program. Savings accumulated while in the IDA program are matched at a 3:1 rate with funds from private and public sources. To be able to qualify for a match, program participants are required to complete the AAAH financial management plan that includes a match rate of 3:1 with a maximum savings match of 3,000 of your own personal money. The following rules to get accepted into the program are as follows:

  • Maximum Match: up to $9,000 ($3,000 x 3 = IDA funds)
  • Program Length: 6 months to 3 years (all information is based on the savings goal that is chosen) up to $12,000 total amount.
  • Qualified Expenses for Homeownership
  • Down-payment
  • Closing costs (such as attorney fees, appraiser’s fees, credit reports, home inspection, mortgage insurance, origination fees, property taxes and more)
  • Negotiated construction/reconstruction items when acquiring home at loan closing

Eligibility Requirements

  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Must be a first time home buyer
  • Must be employed and have proof of earned income (recent pay stub)
  • Must successfully complete AAAH’s Homebuyer Education Class
  • Must be income eligible (adjusted gross income must qualify for Earned Income Tax Credit or a member of your family must be eligible for participation in the TANF program)
  • Must provide proof of 3 consecutive months of savings prior to enrollment (negotiable)
  • Previous year tax return

Whether a first-time homebuyer or homeowner, there's benefits for everyone. With The African American Alliance being part of a bigger company, called the MHAC, The African American Alliance for Homeownership is linked to Hacienda CDC, and Portland Community Reinvestment Initatives Inc. (PCRI), that all work to address the homeownership challenges faced by under-served communities.

First time homebuyers and current homeowners learn about the homeownership process, and receive a Homeowner Education Certificate upon completion (must attend full session). Budgeting, savings and affordability, credit, working with a lender or realtor, how to avoid predatory lending practices, plus more are all a part of MHAC's program.

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