NH CUs Pledge $35M For Affordable Housing

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A $35 million affordable housing program backed by New Hampshire's credit unions was officially unveiled last week at America's Credit Union Museum here.

The initiative was organized by NCUA board member Debbie Matz and has the support of the agency and its chairman, Dennis Dollar, who was also at the Museum to formally announce the program.

"If 32 credit unions in New Hampshire can pledge $35 million to affordable housing, imagine what 10,000 credit unions can do across America," Matz said during her remarks.

The affordable housing partnership stems from a Nov. 14, 2002 workshop Matz hosted in Massachusetts that sought among other things to explore means of making housing more affordable.

Out of that workshop came Matz's Partnering and Leadership Successes (PALS) initiative, itself an extension of Dollar's Access Across America initiative.

Under the New Hampshire program, the state's credit unions will fund two housing programs:

1. Home Ownership Loans: A program for those who don't qualify for a conventional mortgage, it seeks to generate rental income through the purchase of two-to-four-family owner-occupied properties.

The program includes a component led by NeighborWorks, which teaches life skills, financial management, and property management.

2. Family Emergency Loans: A program aimed at helping those with short-term emergencies, such as inability to pay heat or electriccity bills.

NeighborWorks will also teach counseling and budgeting skills to those involved.

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