It’s Fair Housing Month, and we spoke with Julie Gugin, Executive Director of the Minnesota Homeownership Center, about their work and the work of Homeownership Opportunity Alliance.
What is the mission of your organization?
The Minnesota Homeownership Center promotes and advances successful homeownership in Minnesota with an emphasis on serving those facing the greatest barriers to homeownership: lower income households and communities of color.
What is the Minnesota Homeownership Alliance and how does it support your mission?
The Homeownership Opportunity Alliance is a coalition of engaged industry leaders who are actively dedicated to closing Minnesota’s homeownership gap. The ultimate goal of this coalition is to provide opportunities to collaboratively develop partnerships, programs, resources and best practices as a catalyst to systemic change that advances homeownership equity in Minnesota.
How does your organization define success?
On the macro level, success will be seeing homeownership injustice reversed, the homeownership gap between white and BIPOC households eliminated, and the threats posed by homeownership challenges to individual households, our communities and our collective economy averted. Obviously some, if not all, of this work will be forever ongoing, and a myriad of players beyond the Center will need to play their own crucial roles. On the micro level, success is seeing an individual or family achieve sustainable homeownership, positively impacting the financial trajectory of their offspring via wealth creation and a stable foundation from which future generations can grow.
What is an interesting fact about your organization most people don’t know?
Our work has been determined by third-party research to deliver $3 in social return on investment for every $1 spent. Individuals, financial institutions, municipalities, neighbors, taxpayers and future generations all benefit financially when homeownership is made more accessible and sustainable to all.
What plans does your organization have for 2021?
The Center finalized its 2020-2024 strategic plan last year, and work has been moving ahead on schedule despite the challenges posed by COVID. By working together with stakeholders from across the board, we will:
- Increase the number of consumers we counsel and educate each year by at least 20 percent
- Facilitate the development and implementation of real world, people-centered models of service delivery across all cultures
- Fund a variety of breakthrough ideas that transform our sector
- Positively impact the financial lives of more than 90,000 households over the next five years
What inspires you / what do you love most about the work your organization does?
I love that our work is centered around the belief that owning a home is the foundation for success; that homeownership grounds families; that children of homeowners do better in school; that owning one’s home leads to more stable employment and better health; and that successful homeownership builds wealth. This work makes a tangible difference in the lives of those we serve, perhaps best illustrated by the fact that the median net worth of homeowners in our country is more than 44 times that of renters. This changes the economic trajectory of future generations!
How can people get involved with your organization?
Those in the homeownership industry can get involved with the Homeownership Opportunity Alliance and work with us to eliminate Minnesota’s homeownership gap – see https://www.hocmn.org/homeownership-opportunity-alliance-industry/. Everyone in the industry has a role to play!