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Housing For Mesa (HFM)

WHAT IS HFM?

HFM increases awareness of affordable housing options; creates better informed consumers through homebuyer education classes; provides one-on-one housing counseling to help clients identify and address personal barriers to homeownership; and multiplies the number of affordable homes by acquiring and repairing existing properties for resale to low and moderate income first time homebuyer families. HFM ensures affordability by providing up to $15,000 in gap financial assistance. (Restrictions Apply)

Call HFM at 480-649-1335 to see if you may qualify for assistance.

HOW DOES HFM WORK?

HFM's Homeownership Program helps low and moderate income families become first-time homeowners. Eligible families must earn between 50% and 80% of the area median income, (based on family size). For example, a family of four could be income eligible if their income is between $29,300 and $46,900 annually. The family must have $2000.00 for the down payment/closing costs, and want to purchase a home in Mesa, unincorporated Mesa, or Chandler, Arizona.

This financing design is an example of an effective public-private partnership that provides working families with a hand up, not a hand out. The families themselves fund the majority of the purchase and thus take great pride in the fact that they have reached their goals. HFM is here to help make their dreams come true.

Each family must complete an 8 hr. education course on homeownership before meeting one-on-one with a housing counselor. HFM housing counselors spend an average of 40 hours per family to prepare the family to purchase a home. When the family is ready to look at property, the counselor arranges a meeting with a realtor and outlines the program restrictions for purchase. The family selects a house within the financial limits of the program; HFM buys the house, rehabs it and sells it to the family at fair market value.

MISSION STATEMENT

HFM's mission is to create and support community revitalization by providing quality affordable housing opportunities, with an emphasis on family homeownership, through education, counseling, development, and housing related services.

VALUES STATEMENT

HFM believes that homeownership allows families and individuals to acheive a measure of stability and self- determination and to express their diversity of culture and lifestyle. HFM is committed to improving the community at the neighborhood level by developing quality affordable housing and by creating better citizens through homeownership. Our goal is to assist low to moderate income households overcome the barriers to homeownership, whether those barriers are financial or social.

HFM History

Incorporated in 1988 as Housing for Mesa and granted tax-exempt status by the IRS in 1989, HFM began operating its first time Homebuyers' program in January 1990. The program began with new construction of in-fill housing in Mesa's Washington Park neighborhood, one of the lowest income areas of the city. The ribbon was cut on the first two houses in 1990.

During the first three years of operation, production ranged from six to eight houses per year. When HFM expanded its acquisition/rehab program to encompass all of Mesa in mid-1992, production tripled. Today, HFM produces an average of 20 units of housing, provides education to 600 households and counsels approximately 100 families per year.

HFM budgets have reflected this growth, going from a start-up program of $250,000, with permanent financing provided by a single lender, to its current $4 million budget, utilizing seven different lending institutions. Staff has grown from an all-volunteer effort to seven positions including two housing counselors, three program specialists, an administrator, and a program development specialist. HFM contracts with four consultants to provide resource development, computer/technology assistance, and architectural/cost estimating services.

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YOU CAN HELP : DONATE NOW!

There is still much to accomplish and many opportunities for you to join us for the next 10 years of building communities together.

Can we count on you?
To send a donation online click the following link...

ONLINE DONATIONS

or print and complete the donor card and mail it with your donation to:

Housing For Mesa
P.O. BOX 4457
Mesa, AZ 5211-4457
valority.com

Board of Directors

The Board of HFM is comprised of HFM homeowners and representatives from the fields of real estate, architecture, banking and education. The Board is committed to expanding homeownership opportunities to low-income families and individuals, with an emphasis on outreach to the minority community.

Staff

John R. Smith - President & CEO
John has been with HFM since 1988, originally on the Board of Directors and then in 1992 on staff as CFO. He became Executive Director in 1996. Prior to working for HFM, he taught in the Mesa Public School system for 25 years.

Teresa Brice-Heames - Vice-President
Prior to co-founding Housing For Mesa, Teresa was an attorney with Community Legal Services. She served on the Board of HFM from 1988 to 1990 when she took the first paid staff position at HFM. She served as HFM's Executive Director from 1990-1996.

Edna McLaughlin - Director of Education & Counseling
Edna joined HFM in 1992 as its first housing counselor. Her experience includes work with low-income families through the UofA Extension Service where she completed the Money Management Training Course.

Cruz Lopez - Housing Counselor
Cruz joined HFM in 1996 as a program specialist providing client assistance for intakes and referrals. Since that time, she has become certified as a bilingual housing counselor and has received training in property evaluation and rehab.

Stacy Smith - Program Specalist II
Stacy has worked for HFM since 1996 as a program specialist while she attends Arizona State University until May of 2003. Stacy has also attended Arizona State Continued Education Marketing Training held at the Mesa United Way.

Megan Brice-Heames - Program Specialist, Website
Megan joined the staff last year as a Program Specialist and began working with the marketing team to put together HFM's last homefair and to put out the newsletter. She has attended the ASCE Marketing Training at Mesa United Way.

Jessica Bencomo - Program Specialist
Jessica is the most recent addition to HFM. She also provides bilingual assistance to the staff and translates for the marketing team. She has taken Careertrack's Microsoft Word Seminars.

Partners

HFM is a partner with the National Council of La Raza and the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the Latino Homeowner Initiative, designed to increase the homeownership rate among Latinos. Other partners include:

Programs / Services

Outreach

HFM conducts outreach in the community by participating at school, church and neighborhood events where eligible clients are likely to attend. Upon request, HFM also conducts group presentations to agencies and organizations with a similar client population, such as Save The Family, Headstart, and Family Tree programs. Information and referral services are available to the public regarding affordable housing options.

Education

HFM has a standard one-hour orientation that is required for any family who wishes to purchase a property through HFM's housing development programs. All applicants must also complete HFM's FastTrack program.

FastTrack is the FHA/FNMA certified course for homebuyers that provides 8 hours of intensive group training for families to prepare for purchase of a home. Guest speakers provide information on all aspects of homeownership. Weekly classes in English and Spanish are scheduled at HFM's Education Center. HFM now offers classes for participants in the City of Tempe's program and the City of Chandler's program.

Within 12 months of close of escrow, HFM homeowners are required to attend six post-purchase classes, offered monthly on a variety of topics.

HFM offers a specialized service only for local social service agencies on a contract basis. The Basic Financial Skills program prepares families to transition from publicly subsidized rental units to permanent affordable private housing. This program is designed to give families new budgeting skills and the opportunity to build a savings account while working on a personalized plan to reach homeownership. These families use a comprehensive workbook in monthly group classes and meet on an individual basis to check progress on their goals.

Counseling

Eligible applicants meet one-on-one with HFM Housing Counselors to develop a workplan toward homeownership. Each family receives an average of 40 hours of individual housing counseling to prepare for homeownership.

Affordable Housing Development

HFM's New Opportunities for Homeownership program offers new construction of single family homes limited to a single target area in older, central Mesa neighborhoods. The Buyer's Choice program acquires and rehabs existing homes throughout Mesa.

Property Profile

HFM uses licensed, bonded contractors in both its new construction and acquisition/rehab of existing houses. All houses must meet HUD Housing Quality Standards prior to sale to a qualified buyer. All existing properties are covered by a one-year home warranty. New houses are covered by the warranties provided by the builder.

Technical Assistance

Upon request, HFM can contract for services to other non-profit agencies to provide technical assistance in such areas as administrative systems, resource development, grant administration, client data tracking, program development and advocacy.

Facts & Figures

Minimum Qualifications for Clients

Housing Information and Education Services are free to the public and available to anyone who requests services.

To be eligible to purchase a property through HFM's housing development programs, families must earn between 50% and 80% of the area median income, adjusted for family size. In addition, eligible families must have $2000 in savings for the down payment/closing costs, and want to purchase a home in Mesa. All families must attend an orientation meeting prior to submitting an application, with a $25 fee, and must complete the 8-hour FastTrack course. Each family must qualify for a mortgage from a bank in an amount that will depend on their income. Based upon program guidelines, HFM will provide additional funds on an as-needed basis to help the family purchase a home.

HFM is partner with the National Council of La Raza and the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the Latino Homeowner Initiative, designed to increase the homeownership rate among Latinos through homebuyer education and counceling. HFM is the only FNMA and FHA approved agency to offer homebuyer education classes in English and in Spanish in the East Valley.

FY 01-02 Program Results

Other Infos

Awards

To date, HFM has created more units of affordable single-family housing for homeownership in the Phoenix metro area than any other non-profit agency. In addition to this distinction, HFM has received the following awards:

What Our Partners Say About HFM

"Northern Trust appreciates the opportunity to strengthen and invest in its community through participation with HFM. John, thank you for your leadership and commitment in the economic revitalization of the East Valley area."
Northern Trust Bank

"Norwest has and continues to build a strong relationship with Housing For Mesa in the East Valley. We feel that this partnership has provided the opportunities for low income families to revitalize their neighborhoods, to achieve financial independence and stability, and to restore faith in themselves."
Norwest Bank Arizona, N.A.

"Through collaborations like the one we have with HFM, individual neighborhoods have grown stronger and opportunities are expanding where there were once only challenges."
Bank of America

"This program is an excellent example of the public and private partnership State Savings is seeking to help meet the credit needs of our community."
State Savings Bank

"Thank you for the work you do in Mesa. We have enjoyed a positive, cooperative working relationship with your agency for many years. You truly are an asset to our community."
Karen Kurtz, Neighborhood Assistance Office City of Mesa

What our Clients Say About HFM

"Just want you to know that I am eternally grateful for all your help. I appreciate you meeting with me and helping me through the process of finally finding a lending source. Thank for sharing your knowledge and resources. HFM is a wonderful program. I was thinking of giving up the idea of owning a home until I received help from you. Thanks!"
KT, Mesa

"I have attended the course you offer and found that it was extremely informative. I am writing to thank you for offering such a course . . . (it) was not only informative but very fun and relaxed. If more people would consider taking this course before buy(ing) a home there would be a lot less foreclosure and unanswered questions. . . . Thank you all."
EB & family

"Being a single parent and working 10-12 hrs a day is difficult but it's worth it to keep my house and my daughter up to standard. Thank you for my home - beside my daughter it is everything."
CN, Mesa

". . . I have not been able to put into words what you have helped myself and family achieve. I have been in my house for nine months now and I still just walk around and look at things not believing that this is mine. I have grass in my back yard now and rose bushes on the side. . . . I get so excited every time I am able to do something to the house and every time I think of . . . Housing for Mesa. . . .I know that no matter what happens in my future or how old I become that I will never forget what you have done for me and others. . . ."
JS, Mesa

". . . (I)t seens appropriate to write a thank-you note for the opportunity of owning a home that you have assisted us with. It means a lot to us and hope you are aware of it. . . . Many Thanks!"

CT, Mesa

Building Communities Together- 10 Year Report

In October 2000, HFM celebrated 10 years of providing affordable homeownership opportunities for modest income families. Here is the Executive Summary from the report issued to commemorate that event. For a complete copy of the report, call (480) 649-1335 and ask for the 10 year report.

Executive Summary