Wells Fargo NeighborhoodLIFT Program Creates Pathways to Homeownership
Sixty-two percent of Philadelphia households spend at least 30% of their income on housing costs. The problem is particularly acute for renters with incomes below $30,000 per year, with 68% of them paying at least 50% of their income toward housing, according to The Pew Charitable Trusts.
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Joyce Bell received home down payment assistance at the Philadelphia NeighborhoodLIFT event in 2016. Today's expansion of the NeighborhoodLIFT program follows similar initiatives in 2012 and 2016 that created more than 1,000 homeowners in Philadelphia with a combined $16 million provided by Wells Fargo (News - Alert). (Photo: Wells Fargo)
To address this ongoing issue, vice chairman of Wells Fargo Public Affairs Bill Daley announced the NeighborhoodLIFT® program today in front of the West Philadelphia home of Roy Washington, who received down payment assistance at a previous LIFT initiative in Philadelphia. The $5 million LIFT collaboration is funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation to boost homeownership in Philadelphia for low- and moderate-income individuals in collaboration with NeighborWorks® America and its network member Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) of Greater Berks, Inc. The NeighborhoodLIFT program will offer $15,000 in down payment assistance to approximately 300 eligible homebuyers. NeighborWorks network members New Kensington Community Development Corp. (NKCDC) and HACE are also partners in the program and will provide required homebuyer education.
"Housing affordability has been an issue for some time in Philadelphia, and the pandemic intensified the fact that too many people are paying a significant portion of their income on rent and mortgages," said Bill Daley, vice chairman of Wells Fargo Public Affairs. "This initiative will make a positive impact on the lives of families by putting them on a pathway to housing stability, wellness, and wealth accumulation through successful homeownership."
LIFT programs have created more than 1,000 Philadelphia homeowners
Today's expansion of the NeighborhoodLIFT program is Wells Fargo's 81st LIFT launch and follows similar Philadelphia initiatives in 2012 and 2016 that created more than 1,000 homeowners with a combined $16 million provided by Wells Fargo. The 2021 expansion of the initiative in Philadelphia includes $250,000 for 500 people to receive home ownership counseling so they can learn how to navigate the home purchasing process and determine how to best budge for ongoing homeownership costs.
"This important collaboration will assist more than 300 homeowners while maintaining social distancing guidelines via a virtual platform," said Joanie Straussman Brandon, regional vice president, Northeast Region, NeighborWorks America. "In addition, the required homebuyer education provided by trained professionals will help homebuyers better understand financial commitments of homeownership, from differences in mortgage loans, to property taxes, and more."
Roy Washington and his fiancée, Tanya, purchased a home through the LIFT program in Philadelphia in 2013. "The LIFT process was very helpful. They told us what steps we needed to take to buy a house and financial things we needed to put in place," said Washington. "Now I have peace of mind that I can do what I want. It's a blessing to have something to call your own. God is good all the time."
Eligible homebuyers must earn 80% or less of family median income in Philadelphia, as determined by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council. In Philadelphia the income limit is $54,000 for all borrowers. Participating homebuyers can obtain mortgage financing from any participating NeighborhoodLIFT lender, and NHS of Greater Berks, Inc. will determine eligibility and administer the down payment assistance.
"We are ready to help more Philadelphians bounce back from the pandemic and achieve successful and sustainable homeownership," said Daniel Sansary, executive director, NHS of Greater Berks, Inc. "NeighborhoodLIFT is a unique program and we are thrilled to have it back in our community for a third time to help people transition to homeownership."
Homebuyers can view a list of participating lenders, learn about the steps to apply for down payment assistance, and sign-up for homebuyer education with a HUD-approved provider at www.phillylift.org. Applications for down payment assistance may be submitted beginning Monday, Oct. 11, 2021, at 9 a.m. ET.
Committed to housing affordability
Since 2012, Wells Fargo has invested $521 million in NeighborhoodLIFT and other LIFT programs to help more than 25,100 Americans become homeowners through the purchase of more than $4.86 billion in real estate on an aggregate basis. While the LIFT program is focused on serving low- and moderate-income families regardless of race or ethnicity, the majority of LIFT homeowners represent Black, Indigenous, and People of Color with 25% of all LIFT down payment assistance recipients self-identifying as Black homeowners and 29% representing Hispanic households.
These grants are part of Wells Fargo's housing affordability philanthropic commitment to address community needs in response to COVID-19. Since March of last year, Wells Fargo has provided more than $25 million in grant funding to national nonprofit housing and legal assistance organizations in support of housing counseling, renter stabilization, and eviction avoidance.
About NeighborWorks America and its network members
Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Berks, NKCDC, and HACE are chartered members of NeighborWorks America, a national organization that creates opportunities for people to live in affordable homes, improve their lives, and strengthen their communities. NeighborWorks America supports a network of nearly 250 nonprofits, located in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Visit www.nhsgb.org, www.nkcdc.org, www.hacecdc.org, or www.neighborworks.org to learn more.
About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a leading financial services company that has approximately $1.9 trillion in assets, proudly serves one in three U.S. households and more than 10% of small businesses in the U.S., and is the leading middle market banking provider in the U.S. We provide a diversified set of banking, investment and mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance, through our four reportable operating segments: Consumer Banking and Lending, Commercial Banking, Corporate and Investment Banking, and Wealth & Investment Management. Wells Fargo ranked No. 37 on Fortune's 2021 rankings of America's largest corporations. In the communities we serve, the company focuses its social impact on building a sustainable, inclusive future for all by supporting housing affordability, small business growth, financial health, and a low-carbon economy. News, insights, and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories. Additional information may be found at www.wellsfargo.com | Twitter (News - Alert): @WellsFargo.
News Release Category: WF-PESG - Philanthropy & ESG
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