MAHA Releases Bold Homeownership Justice Vision
Monday, February 8, 2021 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced the City of Boston is providing new homebuyers up to $5,000 through the First-Generation Homebuyer Program. The program assists income-eligible first-generation homebuyers in purchasing a home in Boston for the first time with a 2:1 matching program.
“Now more than ever, in Boston, we must take steps to create equitable opportunities and access to resources for all Bostonians. Ensuring access to homeownership is a vital part of this work,” said Mayor Walsh. “I’m proud to increase the grant funding available through the Dorchester-based Massachusetts Affordabe Housing Alliance (MAHA) First-Generation Homebuyer Program to assist more families in purchasing their first homes in our city.”
Funding for this program has been redirected from the Boston Police Department’s overtime budget to the Department of Neighborhood Development (DND), which was announced by Mayor Walsh in June in an effort to make a significant investment in equity and inclusion across the City. The DND dedicated $250,000 of the police overtime budget in addition to $75,000, totalling $325,000 in funding available to help increase homeownership rates in the city among first-generation buyers, immigrants, and buyers of color.
“First-generation buyers don’t have the ‘Bank of Mom and Dad’ to fall back on when trying to buy a home, said Symone Crawford, Mattapan homeowner and Director of Homeownership Education at MAHA. “This investment is critical in helping to level the playing field for those residents. “We launched our first-generation homebuyer matched-savings program last year and already residents have saved over $187,0000 for their first home.”
MAHA today also issued a bold 12 point challenge to close the racial homeownership gap through its Homeownership Justice Vision. Subtitled “A Plan for Good Trouble” after the late activist and Congressman John Lewis, the challenge includes tripling lending in the state’s most affordable mortgage – the ONE Mortgage through the Massachusetts Housing Partnership and area lenders; a $100 million investment for first-generation homebuyers allowing MAHA to offer matches for homebuyers as high as 10:1; and new affordable homeownership opportunities, funded by new revenue streams, so that those making modest incomes can afford to buy a home.
“We need to scale programs like ONE, add new race-conscious policies and programs, and be intentional about ALL housing policies if we are to move the needle on the racial wealth gap,” said Esther Dupie, president of MAHA’s Board of Directors. “Here is our challenge to corporate Massachusetts and government officials at the local, state and federal levels. We invite you to join us and to meet this movement now.”
“When purchasing a home, the financial questions are the most intimidating,” said Dafany Pressat, a MAHA First Generation program graduate and Mattapan homebuyer. “The First Gen program gives first-generation homebuyers something to look forward to while attending home buying classes where the end goal is purchasing a home. I felt a lot more secure knowing that if we do our part by saving the $2,500, we will get rewarded for it with the money from this program. Enhancing the funding for this program for others like me to benefit from is truly great news.”
Homebuyers who are the first generation in their families to buy a home often have a difficult time accruing the downpayment and closing costs necessary to purchase a home, according to a study by the Urban Institute. Funds are not available from family for financial assistance often because the buyer’s parents don’t own a home and therefore cannot leverage the home’s equity to provide financial aid to their children. Nationally from 1999-2015, White parents have the highest homeownership rate (83.8 percent), and black parents have the lowest (49.1 percent).
The City of Boston Home Center has added funds to the existing First-Generation Program developed by MAHA with support from the MIDAS Collaborative as well as funding from Boston Children’s Hospital, Wells Fargo Foundation, Greater Boston Association of Realtors and Greater Boston Real Estate Board.
“We know first-generation homebuyers are less likely to become homeowners than those in similarly situated households who grew up with parents who are homeowners,” said Sheila Dillon, Chief of Housing and Director of Neighborhood Development. “These funds will help make homeownership possible to those who will benefit for generations to come, and help us close the gap on home ownership in Boston.”
One hundred and sixty-eight homebuyers are currently enrolled in the program, and fourteen have purchased homes so far. Of the 168 participants, 73 percent are Black and 18 percent are LatinX. Forty percent of participants are households headed by a woman, and one-third are households that identify as immigrants. To find out more about the program, go to https://mahahome.org/STASH.
About the Department of Neighborhood Development
The Department of Neighborhood Development is responsible for housing the homeless, developing affordable housing, and ensuring that renters and homeowners can find, maintain, and stay in their homes. The Boston Home Center continues to provide down payment assistance to first-time homebuyers and home repairs for seniors and low-income residents.
About the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance
MAHA educates and mobilizes to increase affordable homeownership opportunities, break down barriers facing first-time and first-generation homebuyers, and close the racial wealth and homeownership gaps. Since 1985, MAHA’s campaigns have resulted in affordable mortgages for over 22,000 homebuyers and over $10 billion in public and private investment in affordable housing. Our comprehensive homebuyer and homeowner education programs have graduated over 37,000 individuals, more than any other organization in the state.
Statements of support for MAHA’s Homeownership Justice Vision
“I commend the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance (MAHA) for laying out a bold vision that centers the humanity and dignity of everyone. Housing is a fundamental human right, and if we hope to build the Beloved Community that the late, great Representative John Lewis dedicated his entire life to building, we must address the glaring disparities in homeownership and access to clean, safe, affordable housing. This visionary roadmap outlines policy solutions for every level of government that are prescriptive, precise, and proactive to remove systemic barriers to economic security and close the racial wealth gap. Congressman Lewis taught us that the struggle for justice is a lifelong commitment and reminded us that real, lasting change is possible. I look forward to working in continued partnership with MAHA and the millions of Americans who are working every day to build up themselves, their families, and their communities.” – Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, MA-7
“The urgency to stabilize our working class, communities of color is more imperative now than ever. We commend MAHA’s historic leadership to close the wealth gap through homeownership for our communities. This homeownership vision is a bold step to solidify our BIPOC communities’ stake in Massachusetts and intersect housing to climate to racial justice. Onward together!” — Lisette Le, Executive Director, VietAID
“Following the lynching of George Floyd this summer, BECMA—or the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts—convened over a dozen Black- and Indigenous-led organization leaders fromacross the Commonwealth to form the Black Mass. Coalition. We developed and published our “Blueprint for a New World” that included achievable, substantive targets for all corporate, nonprofit,foundation, and government leaders to commit to adopting to ensure a strong foundation for the prosperity of Black and Indigenous communities in our state. MAHA’s Homeownership Justice Vision equally imagines a region where we make real progress on eliminating the racial wealth gap through sustainable and sensible housing policy that lifts up everyone who has been left out of homeownership because of decades of intentional racist actions, from redlining to exclusionary zoning and racial covenants. We fully support MAHA’s efforts and are proud to stand with them because they believe along with Fannie Lou Hamer, the godmother of the Civil Rights Revolution, that ‘Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.’” — Segun Idowu, Executive Director, BECMAthe Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance (MAHA) for laying out a bold vision that centers the humanity and dignity of everyone. Housing is a fundamental human right, and if we hope to build the Beloved Community that the late, great Representative John Lewis dedicated his entire life to building, we must address the and proactive to remove systemic barriers to economic security and close the racial wealth gap. Congressman Lewis taught us that the struggle for justice is a lifelong commitment and reminded us that real, lasting change is possible. I look forward to working in continued partnership with MAHA and thAmericans who are working every day to build up themselves, their families, and their communities.” —Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, MA-7
Dafany Pressat, a MAHA First Generation program graduate and Mattapan homebuyer