CHT Launches New Homeownership Equity Program

The Champlain Housing Trust announced a suite of initiatives and financing options to help Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) become homeowners through its signature shared equity program.

One notable component is $25,000 in down payment assistance designed as a 0% interest, forgivable loan after three years for buyers who are BIPOC. CHT, a licensed lender, has developed the loan as a Special Purpose Credit Program, and the result will make homeownership more accessible and will help buyers build equity faster. This program is likely one of the first of its kind in the nation.

“Today, when Black Vermonters are three times less likely to be a homeowner than white ones, we must take steps to reverse the all-too predictable results of systemic racism in this nation’s housing policy,” said Michael Monte, CEO of Champlain Housing Trust. “We are committed to taking a comprehensive approach to extending the benefits of homeownership to historically marginalized communities.”

The program is modeled in part after the Black Homeownership Collaborative, a national campaign to create three million net new Black homeowners by 2030. There are several interconnected components of the program, which has been funded with a $3 million gift over three years by New England Federal Credit Union. These include:

  • Marketing and Outreach. CHT will work with BIPOC-led equity organizations as partners to engage directly to BIPOC families and households.
  • Homebuyer Education and Counseling. CHT will provide counseling, training, education, directly to BIPOC families and households.
  • Down Payment Assistance and Housing Production. As mentioned above, CHT will provide $25,000 forgivable loans to shared equity homebuyers who are BIPOC; and will increase development of new shared equity homes for sale per year.
  • Credit and Lending. CHT will work with local financial institutions and leaders to create a homeownership framework that complies with Sharia Law, which prohibits households of the Muslim faith to pay interest.
  • Housing Sustainability. CHT currently has about 40 BIPOC homeowners and will support those owners to access assistance for home repairs or to replace old systems.
  • Advocacy. CHT will work with public policy makers and advocates to change laws and other systemic barriers that have historically prevented access to homeownership.

CHT’s Shared Equity Homeownership program lowers the amount buyers need to borrow to make the home affordable. CHT stewards almost 650 shared equity homes that are kept permanently affordable as owners share future market appreciation with subsequent buyers.

“Champlain Housing Trust is thankful to carry out the vision of the New England Federal Credit Union to make access to homeownership more equitable,” added Monte.