Why Affordable Housing

According to the US National Homeownership Strategy:

Most scholars, public policy makers, industry analysts, and civic and community leaders agree that supporting homeownership is good for America, and will generate [these] fundamental benefits:

    - Homeownership is a commitment to personal financial security. Through homeownership a family acquires a place to live and raise children and invests in an asset that can grow in value and provide the capital needed to start a small business, finance college tuition, and generate financial security for retirement….

    - Homeownership is a commitment to economic growth. Homeownership helps generate jobs and stimulate economic growth. The design, construction, and rehabilitation of homes employ local labor and use a vast array of American-made products and services. Homebuilding has often led the economic recovery from national recessions due to its strong job multiplier effect and because increased housing starts and home sales represent renewed economic confidence.

    - Homeownership creates economic prosperity for families and communities and acts as a dynamic generator of economic growth.

US Department of Housing & Urban Development

Visible Community Impact

"The Winnebago Homebuyer Program features four very real benefits that are visible to the communities we serve:

    First: when we are involved in the purchase of a home, we facilitate and finance the repairs necessary to bring the home up to a standard that complies with health and safety standards, local codes, and basic livability. These improvements are visible to the neighbors, who see the new roof, and who watch as the lead hazard is removed from the home. The neighborhood is improved, both visually and in property values. This transformation is most visible in our Community Redevelopment initiative, in which we purchase often neglected and foreclosed properties and transform them into quality homes that people are proud to live in and next to.

    Second, together with our partners, we inject significant funding into these rehab projects, which helps to support good paying construction jobs. Nearly all of the bidding parties are locally-owed crews, with our funding helping to support our neighbors and our broader community.

    Third is the direct benefit to the homebuyer through the ability to develop an asset. Being a lower-income family does not mean an inability to manage finances. My experiences are quite the opposite, in that the severe limits of available financial resources often creates exceptional financial management skills. Bills are timely paid while debts are very limited. The main difference is often simply an inability to develop any long-term wealth. By supporting these households through extensive homeownership and financial management training, and with responsible financial investment, together we create an opportunity for wealth development.

    Lastly, this program improves lives, including creating safe living environments through our rehab program, through stabilizing family transitions which has a direct positive impact on child learning and overall family involvement in the community, and through the opportunity for a family to make their home their own."

~ Justin R. Mitchell, Winnebago Homebuyer Program Coordinator

Impact on America’s Families and Communities

One of the main funding support sources for Winnebago Homebuyer Program participants is through the HOME Investment Partnership Program. According to a report on the HOME program titled Building Home (2015):

For over 20 years, the HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) has been one of the most effective, locally driven tools to help states and communities improve access to affordable housing. HOME is the only federal housing program exclusively focused on providing states and local communities with flexible financing to address their most pressing affordable housing needs. Since 1992, states and communities have invested $26.3 billion in HOME funds to help build and preserve nearly 1.2 million affordable homes and to provide direct rental assistance to more than 270,000 families. The HOME Coalition estimates that this investment has supported nearly 1.5 million jobs and generated $94.2 billion in local income. $1 of HOME investment leverages more than $4 in additional local investments. To date, HOME has leveraged an additional $117 billion in public and private resources for a total investment of $143 billion.

By law, HOME is exclusively targeted to low-income households with incomes less than 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), including seniors, people with disabilities, families with children, veterans, and people experiencing homelessness. Communities decide how to best use HOME funds to address a wide range of housing needs, from homeownership and rental housing to rehabilitation and rental assistance. HOME has been successfully used in every congressional district and in rural, suburban, and urban communities alike, playing a critical key role in ensuring the success of other federal programs, such as the Low Income Housing Tax Credit and USDA Rural Housing Programs.

Historically, HOME has enjoyed broad, bipartisan support. When Republican President George H.W. Bush signed HOME into law, he noted that the legislation was “an opportunity to renew our commitment to the goals we all share: decent, safe, and affordable housing for all Americans.” For over two decades, HOME has been essential to helping our nation achieve this shared goal.