Columbia Non-Profit Housing, another subsidiary of Vancouver Housing Authority, ended its homeownership program in 2008 as the recession was setting in and homebuilding fell.
Since then, more has been learned about the best practices around homeownership assistance programs. The land trust model is popular across the country, Hajarizadeh said. It ensures the home will remain affordable long term, so when it’s resold it’ll go to another lower-income family.
Vancouver Affordable Housing Nonprofit plans to partner with Proud Ground to adopt this model. The Portland-based nonprofit will market and sell the eight townhouses.
Vancouver Affordable Housing Nonprofit is trying to keep the homes below market-rate, aiming to sell the two-bedroom homes for $230,000 and the three-bedroom homes for $265,000. (New townhouses in the urban core tend to be priced at least 10 percent higher. For instance, a new three-bedroom, 2 1/2 -bathroom townhouse in east Minnehaha currently is listed for $301,900 on RMLS.)
Depending on the homeowners’ financial situation, they could get down payment assistance of up to $55,000. So, a $230,000 home becomes a $175,000 home and monthly mortgage payments are lower.
Community Development Block Grant funds from the city of Vancouver and federal Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program grants will lower the purchase price of each home, depending on what families can afford. Hajarizadeh said he’s also looking to apply for other down payment assistance grants.
Hajarizadeh said the model differs from Evergreen Habitat for Humanity, another Vancouver-based nonprofit that has its own “niche and formula” of boosting homeownership.
Vancouver Housing Authority board members have debated whether helping families become homeowners is within the housing authority’s purview. The agency’s mission is to provide opportunities to people who experience barriers to housing due to income, disability or special needs.
Homeownership, Hajarizadeh said, is a way to build assets and “building assets is an important part of pulling yourself out of poverty.”
He’s hopeful that the project — despite its delays in securing land — will prove a successful model.
“We hope for this to be successful so we can do it again,” he said.
Construction is slated to start in September.