The lack of access to homeownership for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) has been no accident. In the United States several policies such as exclusionary zoning, discriminatory lending and real estate practices, redlining, and others based in racism prevented BIPOC homeownership. Vermont hasn’t been immune: white Vermonters are almost three times more likely to be homeowners than Black ones. The result is fewer BIPOC households have an opportunity to experience the security homeownership brings, much less build wealth.
New England Federal Credit Union (NEFCU) is partnering with Champlain Housing Trust to address this historical imbalance and improve access to homeownership for BIPOC households. To make a significant impact, NEFCU is making a $3 million grant commitment to CHT’s programs. The grant, to be paid over three years, is part of a larger Affordable Housing Initiative from NEFCU, with a second $3 million grant supporting the Vermont Housing Finance Agency’s programs, and support for the credit union’s HOME program for first-time homebuyers. It’s a remarkable commitment by NEFCU.
With these resources, CHT will focus on a range of interconnected strategies to promote racial equity in homeownership, including:
- Marketing and Outreach: Working with BIPOC organizations to engage directly with BIPOC families and households.
- Homebuyer Education and Counseling: Direct support for BIPOC families and households.
- Down Payment Assistance and Housing Production: Creating 20 permanently affordable homes per year using donated funds as down payment assistance.
- Credit and Lending: Creating a framework that complies with Sharia Law, allowing more households of the Muslim faith to become homeowners.
- Advocacy: Pushing for policies that provide access to mortgage products for disadvantaged populations, as well as ones which address systemic racism across all levels of government.
- Housing Sustainability: Providing assistance for home repairs or to replace old systems for BIPOC homeowners.
More details will come as the programs get further developed. CHT is grateful to have this opportunity.