With rising costs of living and a stagnant federal minimum wage, it’s getting harder for younger Americans to own a home.
The current homeownership rate in America is less than two-thirds of the population, and when looking at adults under the age of 34, that number drops to one-third. The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has increased from 3.16% to 3.20%.
The Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA) is a national homeownership advocacy nonprofit that makes homeownership obtainable. It’s the largest nonprofit counseling organization certified by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), providing about 30% of all of the housing counseling in the country.
According to NACA CEO Bruce Marks, Georgia is the state where the organization does the most of its business.
“We’re going to be doing a program in Georgia to help people with a section eight housing choice voucher be able to use the housing choice voucher to purchase a home,” Marks said.
The program is called Home Ownership through Public Housing Assistance. Through the program, first time home owners will be able to use their housing choice voucher to purchase their home through NACA’s home ownership program that will allow participants to be without a mortgage in 10-15 years.
Participants will be approved based on criteria such as steady income and a history of making on-time payments. Homeowners will have access to NACA’s pre and post counseling services.
According to NACA, the Home Ownership through Public Housing Assistance program is a “private sector initiative that utilizes the existing HUD homeownership regulations without the need for additional governmental assistance.”
The types of homes eligible for this program include single-family, condos and co-ops. With NACA’s mortgages, there is no consideration of credit score, no down payment required and closing costs are paid by the lender.
Marks is passionate about providing the opportunity for everyone to be able to own a home. He describes himself as a product of the 1970s and was inspired by the Civil Rights Movement to fight for equal opportunities and economic justice.
“[NACA] overcomes the major roadblocks to affordable homeownership for low [to] moderate income people and particularly for people of color, because 90% of our membership of the over
3 million members are people of color,” Marks said.
In Atlanta, Marks plans on continuing to advocate for good housing for those with low to moderate income.
“There’s a lot of city owned property, whether it’s vacant, or properties that need renovation that need to go to low to moderate income people,” Marks said. “[It’s important that] the people who need that housing, who need affordable housing, get access to that.”
“And there’s certainly areas of Atlanta that are affordable, but people might not want to live there because the school system is not good or because it’s not as safe,” Marks continued. So I think it’s really important that those areas get the infrastructure and the support, but are not gentrified.”