“So much pertinent information crammed into one day! The speakers were all really engaging and knowledgeable.”

Home Stretch workbook

Anyone can search the MLS listings for houses for sale, so why take an all-day class just to learn about buying a home?

At PRG’s Home Stretch Homebuyer Workshop, you’ll learn all about the homebuying process and how to make the best decisions for your situation.

With guest speakers who are experts in the industry, a hands-on workbook you can keep, and knowledgeable facilitators, workshops include information on:

  • working with lenders
  • credit and budgeting
  • special loan programs
  • working with realtors
  • home inspections
  • what to expect at a closing
  • being a successful homeowner

In addition, PRG workshops meet HUD guidelines and are approved by NSP and Neighborhood LIFT, necessary to qualify for some types of down payment assistance and other programs.

“The class was so interesting and helpful! I wish I would have taken it two months ago before I started the process.”

Register now

“We’re saying thank you to one of the longest-running homeownership programs in the city of Minneapolis and one of the original members of the Homeownership Advisors Network: PRG, Inc.”

 

June is Homeownership Month! In recognition of that, the Minnesota Homeownership Center has highlighted a few partners including PRG. Erin and Mindy, two of our fabulous homeownership advisors, are interviewed in this great piece:

Homeownership Advisor Network Highlight: PRG, Inc.

Great job, Erin and Mindy! And thank you, MN HOC!

On Thursday, March 16, 2017, President Trump released his proposed budget for the 2018 fiscal year. In addition to cuts that broadly impact social services, the arts, environment, agriculture, and education, the budget also includes a $6.2 billion cut to HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development).

This proposed budget will have deep and lasting impacts on neighborhoods and families throughout the country. It would eliminate a variety of vital HUD programs including two that directly affect PRG’s work. The HOME Investment Partnerships Program supports our affordable housing development, and Section 4 Capacity Building for Community Development and Affordable Housing provides much-needed operating support for our housing programs.

As is often the case, these program cuts will disproportionately impact communities of color and low-income communities. PRG, a recipient of HUD funding, has always worked to improve neighborhoods and communities on the local level.

Last year, PRG:

  • Provided free foreclosure prevention counseling to 50 families, helping 73% of these avoid foreclosure
  • Prepared 360 households for first-time homeownership with homebuyer education workshops
  • Awarded 88% of our construction contracts to minority-owned businesses, impacting the local economy
  • Sold 90% of PRG-developed homes to households of color

To continue doing this important work, we need your help to spread the word about the importance of protecting critical resources for affordable housing.

What you can do:

  • Contact your elected representatives. Call or send postcards. Find contact information for:
  • Donate to PRG. From $5 to $500, your tax-deductible gift in any amount helps.
  • Share your PRG story. Tell us how PRG has impacted you, your neighborhood, or your community.
    • What did you learn at HomeStretch?
    • Do you live in a PRG-developed home? Can you share a picture of your house?
    • Has Mindy or Thandisizwe or Erin helped you on your journey?
  • Let your voice be heard.

As the state’s second largest recipient of funds to provide pre-purchase counseling and homebuyer education, PRG helps to turn prospective buyers into home owners and to address the racial home ownership gap. A recent survey of PRG clients tells us more about the impact of our work in these services.

According to the survey, an estimated 300 households of color purchased homes after using PRG’s pre-purchase counseling and homebuyer education services over the past three years. This is important because for most middle-income Americans, their home is their primary asset, and access to home ownership allows households to build wealth.

PRG houseIn Minnesota, where the racial home ownership gap is one of the worst in the nation (the overall home ownership rate is 70%, but for households of color, the rate is 41%), housing counseling and education helps buyers overcome barriers (such as first generation and first time home buyers, buyers in neighborhoods disproportionately affected by the foreclosure crisis) that often represent systemic racial inequities. When combined with the fact that 73% of PRG-developed homes are purchased by households of color, we are making a real dent in the home ownership gap.

If you’ve purchased a home, you know how bumpy the road to home ownership can be, and PRG’s housing-related services help people dreaming of home ownership navigate the complexities of home buying.

I tell people, if you want a house, you got to go see Erin

If you’ve been dreaming of owning a home, there are lots of reasons to schedule a free appointment for pre-purchase homebuyer counseling.

One of our PRG home ownership advisors can:

  1. Confidentially review your finances
    With the help of an advisor, you will be able to think about your financial goals and what it will take to get there.
  2. Access your credit report and help you make sense of it
    If you do not have a recent credit report, PRG can provide a copy of your FICO report with all three scores ($19.90 per adult). You can also get a copy of your credit report online (without scores) for free at https://www.annualcreditreport.com.
  3. Look at your monthly income and expenses and help you determine what you can afford
    Our advisors will send you a monthly budget worksheet to help you figure out where your money goes in and out.
  4. Assess whether you qualify for a mortgage
    Your advisor will help determine if you qualify for any type of mortgage assistance or other programs that will help you purchase a home. She will also help you avoid predatory lenders.
  5. Recommend financial coaching if you’re not quite ready for home ownership
    If you need, our advisors can facilitate regular, long-term financial coaching (for free) that will help you build wealth and prepare for achieving your financial goals.
We are very excited to showcase one of our recently completed Green Homes North homes on the 2015 Minneapolis & Saint Paul Home Tour, April 25-26. If you go on the tour, look for this beautiful home at 1811 Girard in the Near North neighborhood of Minneapolis.
PRG's Executive Director, Kathy Wetzel-Mastel, with General Contractor, Anderson Mitchell of Mitchell Construction, inside 1811 Girard, a PRG Green Homes North project on the 2015 MSP Home Tour.

PRG’s Executive Director, Kathy Wetzel-Mastel, with General Contractor, Anderson Mitchell of Mitchell Construction, inside 1811 Girard, a PRG Green Homes North project on the 2015 MSP Home Tour.

This  three-bedroom, 1.5 bath home was built by trusted non-profit developer PRG, Inc. and North Minneapolis based Mitchell Construction as part of the City of Minneapolis Green Homes North Program. With over 1,800 finished square feet, this home boasts an open and spacious floor plan along with space for a future family room, bathroom, and bedroom on the lower level. As part of the Green Homes North Program this home offers many green features including: Energy Star windows, doors, shingles, lighting, and appliances. Other green features include water-conserving plumbing fixtures, low-VOC paints and adhesives, and  FSC-certified framing material. Annual energy savings for this home are estimated to be half of what it costs for an average, existing home. Traditional detailing helps this home blend naturally with the surrounding historic neighborhood which boasts  a mix of architecture, beautiful parks, easy access to downtown, and close proximity to all the great things city life has to offer.

A recent HousingWire article shows one way low-income residents miss out, even when home prices are low:

“As rents rise and prices stagnate, homeownership is becoming even more affordable, but rising rents create a dilemma for people who can’t afford to buy yet,” says Jed Kolko, Trulia’s chief economist. “Rising rents make it harder for people to save for a down payment, which is the biggest barrier to buying a home that aspiring homeowners face.”
Homeowners are choosing, or being forced, to rent rather than buy even though the latter is cheaper in key markets Trulia reviewed.
But as they turn to renting, the influx of demand squeezes the nation’s rental supply, pushing monthly rents higher.

Homebuyer education is one way PRG helps break this cycle. Our monthly homebuyer education workshops include information on down payment assistance programs and other loan programs that lower the barriers to home ownership for low- to moderate-income families.

Our free, one-on-one counseling helps low-income renters connect with resources that will work for them, and also make plans and strategize to save for a down payment. With the right knowledge and resources, when the price of ownership is lower than renting, families are often better able to make the leap to a sustainable, affordable option rather than be caught in an upward spiral of increasing rent.

Home TipsLast week PRG rolled out Home Tips, a monthly email for homebuyers and new homeowners, with information and resources curated by PRG’s experienced staff. Take a look at the January tip, and sign up here to get the scoop in future months

  • PRG is by far one of the best non-profits serving the housing needs of our community. I recommend their homebuyer counseling services to my first-time homebuyers all the time.

    Ann, Real Estate Broker
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