Habitat For Humanity of Dutchess County is committed to advancing black homeownership

Thank you for your interest in the Habitat for Humanity of Dutchess County Advancing Black Homeownership Initiative.

Lack of credit or access to credit is a major obstacle to Black homebuyers. The Habitat for Humanity of Dutchess County Advancing Black Homeownership Initiative will augment our financial and credit education programs to reach more Black homebuyers and renters, and work strategically to meet the growing need for affordable housing and homeownership retention in the Black communities we serve.

The Initiative will have a special focus on Poughkeepsie, NY, and Wappingers Falls, NY. According to Mid-Hudson Community Profiles, a Web tool for assessing and understanding populations of the Mid-Hudson Valley, Black residents in these communities report that almost half—49%—of their income goes toward paying rent. That is well above the 30% conventional wisdom recommends.

Key elements of the Habitat for Humanity of Dutchess County Advancing Black Homeownership Initiative will focus on the following:

  • Financial Planning, Credit Counseling, and Homebuyer Education: Lack of credit or access to credit is a leading obstacle to homeownership for Black Americans. In early June, Habitat Dutchess announced its partnership with Washington, D.C.-based NeighborWorks America for its Homeward Bound Program. Homeward Bound provides homebuying education, credit, and financial counseling to aspiring Habitat Homebuyers Program applicants, and gives them an Individualized Action Plan that includes goals for ongoing financial fitness. If Homeward Bound “graduates” ultimately do not qualify for our home buying program, they will still have gained the tools and access to resources that will assist them with any homebuying plans. In 2019, 20% of the 26,000 new homeowners NeighborWorks organizations created were Black. Given the strength of this experience working in communities across the nation to advance Black homeownership, the Homeward Bound partnership with NeighborWorks is on track to help Habitat Dutchess meet the goals for the Advancing Black Homeownership Initiative.

  • Increasing Affordable Housing and Fostering Home Retention: Habitat for Humanity of Dutchess County plans to grow its participation with partner organizations that have a firm footing and a broad reach in their target areas of the City of Poughkeepsie and Wappingers Falls. The Poughkeepsie Affordable Housing Coalition is a team of experienced local nonprofit organizations including Habitat for Humanity of Dutchess County, and its current partners Hudson River Housing, and Rebuilding Together Dutchess County. The Coalition promotes programs and resources that help renters navigate the homebuying process to buy a quality home they can afford, and helps existing homeowners with making critical repairs to preserve their residences. In Wappingers Falls and other communities, the Habitat Dutchess Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative brings together volunteers and community members for Neighborhood Day “Clean-Ups” that often include rehabbing blighted properties. This helps to build a feeling of community and civic engagement and builds a sense of pride, responsibility, and stability.

  • Action-based Community Outreach: Collaborating with local community and civic partners, Habitat for Humanity of Dutchess County will increase grassroots and traditional outreach efforts to reach more audiences in Black communities. L’Quette Taylor wears two hats as the Founder and CEO of the Poughkeepsie nonprofit organization Community Matters 2, and as the Director, Executive Committee for Habitat for Humanity of Dutchess County’s Board of Directors. Mr. Taylor has already brought the two organizations together to build a self-sustaining garden in the City of Poughkeepsie. The event helped raise awareness of Habitat’s mission and allowed community members and Habitat personnel to get to know one another. Clarke Realty & Associates, a Black-owned boutique real estate firm, is joining in the Advancing Black Homeownership Initiative by listing available Habitat properties. The firm also provides its clients with resources, knowledge, and technology for navigating the homebuying process.

  • Marketing and Advertising: Print, broadcast, and social media marketing and advertising campaigns are also on the agenda for the Habitat for Humanity of Dutchess County Advancing Black Homeownership Initiative. The focus of the marketing and advertising campaigns will be the access to credit Habitat for Humanity can offer through SONYMA affordable mortgage products, and on sales prices that are based on 29% of a buyer’s income. Habitat Dutchess has not chosen the specific outlets it will use to deliver these messages yet, but the organization is excited about launching this phase of the Initiative.

If you are interested in becoming a partner with us, would like to provide space for public service announcements in print or broadcast media, or you offer a service that may be a good fit for the Habitat for Humanity of Dutchess County Advancing Black Homeownership Initiative, please use our interest form that you can download, fill in, save and email to Jennifer.Radicone@habitatdutchess.org.

If you are not able to use the form above, please use this interest form that you can download, save and print out to send by email to jennifer.radicone@habitatdutchess.org, or by regular mail to:

Habitat for Humanity of Dutchess County

1822 South Road, Wappingers Falls, NY 12590

ATT: Advancing Black Homeownership Initiative.

You may also call (845) 297-7610, option 4