New housing program will create path to homeownership
Apr 14th, 2023
The City of Mobile has launched a new program that will help create affordable infill housing in neighborhoods that greatly need it while also putting financially disadvantaged Mobilians on a path to homeownership. By bringing several existing affordable housing programs together, The HoPE (Homeownership Provides Equity) Program will help qualified housing choice voucher holders build and purchase a new home through a low-interest loan they can pay down using their housing choice vouchers.
Anyone in Mobile County with a housing choice voucher can apply to the HoPE Program. The City of Mobile can then connect qualifying applicants to a developer and then leverage federal funds to incentivize the construction of a new single-family home based on the applicant’s specific needs.
Once construction is complete, the house is transferred to the voucher holder, who can use their voucher to subsidize mortgage payments on the home over a set term. The loan is backed by the City of Mobile, which keeps interest rates well below the market average and mortgage payments affordable. Because the value of housing choice vouchers is based on the income of the voucher holder, a change in income will not affect a HoPE Program participant’s ability to pay the mortgage down. As the loan is repaid to the City, any money collected from interest goes back into the HoPE Program.
After 15 to 30 years, a voucher holder in the HoPE Program will own their home outright. They will have an asset that can be passed down to the next generation or sold to help finance their next home. Using a portion of the City of Mobile’s allocations from the American Rescue Plan Act, our Neighborhood Development Department projects that 50 to 75 affordable single-family homes could be built through this program by the end of 2027. This will not only significantly impact dozens of families in Mobile, but it will impact entire communities. Homeowners are invested in their properties and their neighborhoods, and homeownership is often a gateway to building generational wealth.
While most of the sites for HoPE Program homes will be selected from the City of Mobile’s landbank, the first house built through the program will be constructed on property owned by a voucher holder. Affordable Homes Gulf Coast will be building a home for Jacqueline Majumder on a piece of property that her family has owned in Trinity Gardens for years. We appreciate Mrs. Majumder for the role she played in getting this innovative affordable housing program off the ground.
If you have questions about the HoPE Program, you can contact the City of Mobile’s Neighborhood Development Department at (251) 208-6294. If you are a voucher holder interested in the program, please contact the housing manager at the agency you receive your voucher from.