NCRC Member Profile: Homeownership Council of America

NCRC’s membership includes more than 600 community-focused organizations in 44 states. Here’s an introduction to one of them, Homeownership Council of America, in Santa Ana, CA, from HCA’s Chief Operating Officer Lupe Hernandez.

Tell us about your organization’s mission/focus area.

Homeownership Council of America is a 501(c)3 national nonprofit. Our mission is to bring equity to homeownership for underserved communities by providing unique capacity building and technical assistance services to other nonprofits, CDFIs and community lenders. We develop and expand homeownership through lending pathways – that is, we help organizations through CLIMB (Community Lending Initiatives in Mortgage Banking), enabling them to earn higher revenue with each step and achieve greater impact in the communities they serve.  

HCA is focused on underserved communities where people of color, low-income and rural populations continually lag in homeownership. We are staffed by a group of experienced mortgage and nonprofit lending professionals and are guided by our deeply passionate, knowledgeable and diverse Board of Directors and advisors. Together, we take a leadership role in building partnerships between investors, donors and nonprofit lenders to provide homeownership access.

Describe a current challenge in your community and how your organization is addressing this?

HCA is taking a lead role in closing the racial homeownership gap through our work with Special Purpose Credit Programs (SPCPs). An SPCP is a credit assistance program offered to benefit members of an economically disadvantaged class of people. Many existing resources –  including down payment assistance (DPA) products – are available to borrowers making below 80% of area median income (AMI), and SPCP DPA products are specifically targeted to BIPOC people making up to 150% AMI. However, HMDA data has repeatedly shown that these funds are not specifically helping BIPOC people become homeowners, especially Black and Indigenous people. We see a possible path to success for BIPOC homebuyers with Special Purpose Credit Program DPAs.  

SPCPs are essential tools that help build savings for middle-class households just within reach of homeownership. We provide entities wanting to create SPCP products with the guidance and subject matter expertise to launch through our CLIMB Capacity Building and TA Program. We are also about to launch an SPCP, Equity DPA. For more information about the product, please visit our website: www.homeownershipcouncil.org   

What prompted you to join NCRC?

HCA achieves its mission through partnership and collaboration with other organizations. We joined NCRC because of its long history of leadership, advocacy and innovation in regards to the Community Reinvestment Act. We also look forward to networking with NCRC’s team and its member organizations.

How have you collaborated, or would you like to collaborate with other organizations to achieve a goal successfully?

We work with nonprofits, mortgage lenders and investors across the country through our Community Lending Initiatives in Mortgage Banking (CLIMB) Program, and provide technical assistance and capacity building to senior leadership teams of CDFIs and nonprofit mortgage lenders. This support increases affordable lending and access to credit for underserved communities. We have collaborated with more than 36 organizations since we launched CLIMB in 2018 and want to collaborate with more organizations seeking to begin or increase mortgage lending, become CDFIs, increase their down payment assistance, or launch Special Purpose Credit Programs. 

Please share a success story or memorable moment from your work.

Last year, we helped a long-standing CDFI in South Texas – serving rural areas and first-generation homebuyers – to successfully grow their products and programs. The organization is now serving multiple of their original production, creating more sustainable first-time homeowners each week.

Find Homeownership Council of America on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/homeownershipcouncil

Lupe Hernandez is the Chief Operating Officer of the Homeownership Council of America.

Photo courtesy of HCA. Pictured is HCA in Louisville, KY with two of their partner organizations, Fahe and Urban League.

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