Housing is a large, complex issue, and it affects people disproportionately. While working at Landed for the past month as part of my Coro Fellow program, I gained insight on how access (or lack thereof) to homeownership impacts educators specifically. Educators are struggling to find affordable places to live, causing them to travel unsustainable distances to the communities they serve. This impacts the retention of teachers and staff within school districts, ultimately impacting the quality of education the students receive.
Landed’s down payment support program creates a tool so that educators can live near the communities they serve. One component of working with Landed is that homebuyers need to contribute 10% down (a requirement of their partner lenders) to the cost of the home they wish to purchase. This requirement is challenging for many educators in cities with high home prices.
Landed recognizes that they are one piece of a larger effort to tackle the housing crisis. They care about the individuals who aren’t currently able to work with Landed, but still need tools to enter the housing market. That’s where I came in. The focus of my project was to think about how we could improve people’s chances of getting a home, even if they weren’t able to use Landed’s product. To do this, I analyzed data about why some educators are not financially ready to buy a home with Landed’s down payment support. Based off of my research, I created a database of resources that we can share with people to get them more financially prepared for homeownership.
My biggest takeaway from my data analysis was that savings, and specifically having enough savings for a 10% down payment, stand as the largest barrier to homeownership for many educators. This information helped me focus my resource hunt on building better ways to save. My database includes resources that are city, county, and state specific so people can get tailored ways to improve their ability to buy a home. Some resources I learned about through my research include: the SparkPoint Centers, the NeighborhoodLift Program, the Mission Asset Fund, and many more.
The work I did is a reflection of Landed’s commitment to the holistic care of communities. I feel grateful to have spent a month learning from and working alongside them. They are a team of people who truly care for each person they come into contact with and are dedicated to providing access to financial wealth and stability for those who uphold our communities. I’ve frequently overheard employees update each other on the lives of the educators they work with, and share excitement for them. I can’t wait to see how they’ll grow, and continue to make the dream of homeownership a reality for more people.