Homebuyer help: Local housing partnership offers affordable home options for low-income residents | St. Louis Public Radio

Homebuyer help: Local housing partnership offers affordable home options for low-income residents

May 1, 2018

Buying and owning a home can be daunting even for those with plenty of resources. But for low-income people, the challenges may seem insurmountable. The nonprofit St. Louis Housing Partnership provides a number of services that help those with low to moderate income obtain and keep their homes or obtain appropriate rental housing.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with Kate Reese, executive director of St. Louis Housing Partnership, David Young, Director of Capacity Building of Housing Action of Illinois, and Bruce Dorpalen, executive director of National Housing Resource Center. They discussed housing needs in the region and the role the St. Louis Housing Partnership plays in meeting them.

Reese said there’s been an increase in people seeking to buy their first home this year with the “economic comeback we’ve been experiencing.” Young said with the higher demand, there are various organizations set to help plan their purchase.

“We want to make sure that the assistance is available to folks so that they can learn all the things that they need to know so they can find a good mortgage and good property,” Young said.

Dorpalen said local housing organizations are valuable since they can work directly with homebuyers and help address “the maze” of issues such as qualifying for a mortgage, credit, savings, documentation, etc.

The St. Louis Housing Partnership is a 20-year-old nonprofit organization that builds new homes and offers them for sale at affordable prices through their “Homebuyer Services” program.

“It’s a combination of working with people one on one, where they are in the process, to help clean up their credit, help them get some additional funds saved, make sure they have the money management skills necessary and understand the responsibility of becoming a homeowner,” Reese said. The organization also offers home repair services and helps with down payments.

The partnership consists of a team in the private market with real estate agents and loan officers from banks and mortgage companies, as well as St. Louis city and county.

Young said Housing Action Illinois is part of that partnership which works with housing services in Missouri and Illinois. It sub-grants to the housing partnership and provides administrative support.

“Which means [the Housing Partnership] can spend more time actually providing direct services to consumers,” he said.

Dorpalen said the National Housing Resource Center works with nonprofit housing groups across the nation to make sure housing is included in policy discussion in Congress. He advocates for increased awareness on the value of housing counseling and said that there is bipartisan support for it.

President Donald Trump proclaimed April 2018 as National Fair Housing Month.

“[Democrats and Republicans] may come from different perspectives on [housing] but this idea that you can become your own homeowner, control your own finances, build some wealth on your own … that kind of resonates for policymakers that same way it does for individual families,” Dorpalen said.

Related Event:

What: St. Louis Housing Partnership’s “Tasting for a Change”
When: 6 p.m. Friday, May 4
Where: River City Casino, 777 River City Casino Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63125

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex HeuerEvie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.