RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Each year, the Maggie Walker Community Land Trust is looking for new ways to provide housing for lower-income residents.
This year to celebrate their fifth year in business, the nonprofit has launched a new rent-to-own program called “Homeownership Bridge,” which is aimed at helping renters prepare to become homebuyers.
“The goal is to get someone from in a rental position to homeownership in about a year,” said Community Coordinator for Maggie Walker Community Land Trust, Nikki D’Adamo. “It’s designed for people who’ve been working towards homeownership but needs some support to get that last little step.”
The new program uses grant funds awarded through the City of Richmond’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund to set aside homes specifically for would-be buyers who do not currently qualify for a mortgage.
“Usually people who come into the program have a credit score of 600, and they may need to build up some savings,” said D’Adamo.
To combat those issues, the nonprofit allows families to instead lease a home for 12 months in the Church Hill area that’s valued at over $300,000 but will be sold to the families for $165,000
“The prices of the homes are such that you can afford it,” said D’Adamo. “We’re aiming to serve people at 50% median income.”
The monthly rental cost would be the same as the mortgage but during those 12 months, more than half the rent paid each month will be put aside into a fund.
“$500 of their rent payment goes into an escrow account that they can access when they buy their home,” said D’Adamo.
Nikki says during COVID-19, homes have played a more important role in everyone’s lives than ever before and they want to give everyone a sense of security.
“In this time of upheaval, just having something you can count on that you don’t have to worry about somebody coming in telling you your lease is up next month or worrying about paying your rent. It’s just more protection for the owner,” said D’Adamo.
Currently, three out of their four homes are occupied. They hope to offer more in the future.
To be considered for the fourth home, you have to attend one of the non-profit’s info sessions.
For more information, click here.
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