Three Rivers Community Action, in partnership with many state and local partners, created the Achieve Homeownership program to provide comprehensive services and resources to diverse households in order to increase the homeownership rates of underserved households throughout southeastern Minnesota. The Achieve Homeownership program:
- Creates a network of trusted advisors who provide culturally-tailored financial literacy, financial empowerment coaching, homebuyer education, pre-purchase counseling and post-purchase homeownership services.
- Leverages existing financial resources and provides new financing opportunities (such as downpayment assistance, individual development accounts, affordable mortgage products, etc.) to assist households in entering homeownership.
- Partners with local lenders and real estate agents on opportunities to work with new clients in diverse markets.
Cultural competency is at the core of homeownership services at Three Rivers. While available to any individual or household that applies, Three Rivers targets outreach for its services to underserved households, including racial and ethnic minorities. Knowing that building trust among communities of color is essential, the organization has made a commitment to hiring diverse staff who speak and provide services in multiple languages. Additionally, staff have built strong relationships with cultural leaders in the region who provide outreach opportunities and access to households who want to work toward homeownership. These relationships also provide access to interpreters who are trusted within the communities they serve.
Since 2008, Three Rivers has provided individual financial or pre-purchase counseling to over 1,000 households, delivered financial literacy training to 640 individuals and taught homebuyer education to 935 diverse households. The end result of this work—pursued patiently with clients who work hard for years to build financial literacy, improve their credit, and save for a purchase—is over 390 new homeowners of color in southern Minnesota.
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