The HOME Investment Partnership Program Offers Families a Down-Payment on their American Dream

The HOME Investment Partnership Program Offers Families a Down-Payment on their American Dream.

Advocacy, appalachia, Housing | October 4, 2021

The Fahe Network uses a wide range of resources and funding tools to meet the needs of the communities we serve. Included among such tools in our toolbox are federally funded programs that target public investments to communities that may lack the local resources to adequately support essential projects and programs. The HOME Investment Partnership Program is one of the most widely utilized federal programs in the Fahe Network, and it has proven itself crucial for delivering measurable impact across our region.

The HOME Investment Partnership Program was created by the National Affordable Housing Act of 1990 and is administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The program provides states and localities with block grants to implement strategies to increase homeownership and housing opportunities for low and very low-income Americans. Over the course of the program’s history, roughly 1.3 million homes have been built or preserved as of 2021 and more than 384,000 families have received rental assistance with the support of HOME funding.

Research on the economic multiplier effects of the HOME program bears out evidence of its cost-effectiveness.  In addition to the $26.3 billion in HOME dollars that have been invested in states and localities over the lifetime of the program, it has also jointly leveraged some $117 billion in added public and private investment. The National Council for State Housing Agencies estimates that for every $1 of HOME funding spent, more than $4.50 is generated in additional investments. The scale of these publicly-led initiatives have not only driven much-needed capital and expanded tax bases at the local level, but, according to data from the HOME Coalition, they have also created nearly 1.5 million jobs over the lifetime of the program.

HOME Investment Partnership
The HOME Investment Partnership Program has proven to be a powerful economic multiplier for creating additional jobs and investments.

How It Works

An essential component to the success of the HOME program revolves around its ability to harness existing local experts and non-profit community developers through which it can deploy targeted public resources. Partnering with local non-profits, states and localities offer a 25% matching contribution towards their designated affordable housing activities as a prerequisite for spending HOME dollar allotments.  These funds then flow to every congressional district across the country, and in Appalachia, they are often assigned to Fahe Members to channel towards various projects in rural, suburban, and even urban communities.

As a result of the diverse local partnerships and projects that the HOME program supports, it is frequently lauded for its flexibility.  Funds can be used for a wide range of community needs, including rental assistance, housing rehabilitation, homebuyer aid, and the construction of new housing developments.  HOME-funded housing developments must serve low and very low-income families, although dollars can also be allotted for costs unrelated to construction, such as down-payment assistance.  With its flexible applications to help disadvantaged families both construct and financially access the dream of homeownership, the HOME program offers a reliable and sturdy foundation upon which many communities can reinvigorate their local economies and build prosperity for their residents.

Fahe’s Impact with HOME Dollars

Funding from the HOME Investment Partnership Program has been an indispensable source of investment liquidity for underbanked communities where commercial financial entities seldom see enough profit potential to operate.  Even in its infancy, the HOME program provided much-needed capital for Fahe’s own loan funds back in the 1990s. Today, the program continues to equip the Fahe Network with essential resources to help disadvantaged families build and finally realize their American Dream.

Many Fahe Members serve communities without sufficient housing supply, particularly housing units that local families can actually afford. Fahe Member Beattyville Housing and Development Corporation (BHDC) used HOME funding to finance construction of the mixed-income Crystal Creek subdivision in Beattyville, Kentucky. This subdivision has been crucial in growing Beattyville’s residential infrastructure to house its local workforce and currently includes more than 40 newly-developed homes. BHDC also funded previous projects, including the West Place Duplexes, with funding from Kentucky Housing Corporation through the HOME Investment Partnership Program.

Likewise, Housing Development Alliance (HDA), another Fahe Member in Hazard, Kentucky, uses its HOME dollars to fill funding gaps for the Hope Building Program.  A partnership among HDA, the Perry County Drug Court, Knott County Drug Court, and Hickory Hill Recovery Center, this program brings paid, on-the-job construction training to men and women recovering from substance use disorders. While the program is funded in part by a POWER grant through the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), HOME funding also contributes to the housing construction element. This versatile blend of multiple funding sources and program dollars speaks to the flexibility of HOME resources and its ability to generate additional investments to actually bring hard capital projects to fruition.

Why is HOME Important?

The HOME program is crucial to the Fahe network because it gives non-profits and community developers the ability to tackle big issues in communities where there often isn’t a lot of public funding available. Communities can implement projects that best serve their local needs, and they can deploy the funding through local experts already engaged in community revitalization work in their own back yard. With a dearth of private philanthropic investment in many of the areas Fahe serves, HOME funding plays a crucial role in filling resource gaps that many communities could not otherwise overcome by themselves.

The HOME Coalition notes that cuts in congressional funding for HOME since 2011 have resulted in less production of housing that low-income families can afford. Looking to the future, the September 2021 draft of the House Financial Services Committee spending bill includes $35 billion for the HOME Investment Partnership Program. Policymakers need to look no further than the Fahe Network to see compelling proof of the life-changing impact that the HOME Investment Partnership Program can offer countless families and communities.  By redoubling its commitment to this transformational program, Congress can provide a down-payment on building an American Dream that leaves no family behind, no matter where they live.