“To assist the community in helping mid to low-income persons replace the destructive effects of poverty and homelessness with positive, supportive and transformative services designed to promote self-leadership, hope and well-being while transitioning into safe, decent and affordable permanent housing.”
A recent study by the Urban Institute has pointed out that the economic recession of the past five years did not effect all racial groups in America equally. More specifically, it increased the ever-growing wealth gap in this country. Key to this racial wealth gap is the disparity in home ownership. Since a home is often the single most valuable asset of minority families, the high foreclosure rates disproportionately impacted them. Moreover, the lack of cash reserves meant they were unable to take advantage of lower-than-normal home values. The result is a widening gap in what racial groups are able to pass on to future generations, furthering economic inequality for decades to come. If this trend is ever to be reversed, minority as well as low income groups home ownership must be facilitated by organizations in a position to support those groups for which owning their own home may not be a current priority. Without community investment through an increased percentage of homeownership in these communities, the social economic structure suffers causing a lack of commercial interest and investment.
Having sat on the HANDS board I have had the privilege of learning a lot about community development. During a fruitful meeting with our mayor, He revealed the continued struggle that he has had convincing Hospitality and Retail concerning Southeast Fort Wayne. To convince them to come into this community and do business, some strategic social and economic developments must first happen. In our discussion we both agreed that increasing homeownership would play a major role in encouraging these entities to do business in the southeast community. Of course JH would have to consider more than just homeownership but also the building of the community residents themselves and therefore we would need to produce a kind of One Stop Shop that would greatly assist this cause offering services that would bridge that gap. Empowering the citizens LIVE (Learn; Invest; Value; Expect) through training and offering supportive services that evolves out of it’s Life Management Model (The 6 T’s) that would not only give the less fortunate safe, decent affordable housing and a retail district but also birth new and support existing business owners, entrepreneurs and community stakeholders. This concept is called The Joshua’s Hand Housing and Life Development Resource Center.
The HLDIRC, a division of Joshua’s Hand assists in the development of housing and related infrastructure specifically designed to meet the physical, psychological, recreational, and social needs of very-low, low and moderate income individuals (80% AMI and below) and families to engage in any activities related to promoting interest and support for such housing. From transformative thinking and living to saving that first dollar to finding the right loan product to maintaining property and finally community investment, the Housing Resource Center walks client through the process of buying, owning a home and become a community stakeholder.
There are a number of different yet related program initiatives carried out by the HLDIRC that are aimed at informing clients of the resources open to them. Since JH CHDO is operated in partnership with the City of Fort Wayne, one of the primary objectives is to make homebuyers and homeowners aware of the many resources available to them through public programs and projects. This includes but is not limited to grants for down payment assistance, home repair funds, and closing cost grants. While HLDIRC will offer a wide array of programs, the core of what we do will center on the importance of consumer education. Thus, we plan to provide a vast assortment of homebuyer and homeowner classes and workshops, in addition to the other important neighborhood and community awareness projects.