Proud Ground is offering five down-payment assistance grants to five income-qualified, first-time homebuyers in Lincoln County through their permanently affordable homeownership model. These homeownership opportunities are part of the launch of its ‘Hub and Spoke’ model to bring permanently affordable homeownership efforts to rural Oregon.
The ‘Hub and Spoke’ model allows Proud Ground to expand its Community Land Trust beyond Greater Portland Metropolitan to serve working families in rural areas. Proud Ground has built a reputation throughout the state as an expert in Community Land Trusts, which has motivated ‘spokes’ to seek out Proud Ground and request support. Proud Ground leverages this invitation into the community by ‘spokes’ to provide ‘hub’ management. In this way, Proud Ground can expand its reach across the state, bringing expertise and funding to rural community land trusts and strengthening the state’s affordable housing industry.
Proud Ground is also working closely with Willamette Neighborhood Housing Services to provide required homebuyer education classes. Using this program, five income-qualified, Lincoln County households will become first-time homebuyers in the first half of 2018. Proud Ground is actively educating and counseling interested homebuyers making between 60 – 100% AMI. Interested households are encouraged to attend an information session on February 6th at 6:00 pm at Newport City Hall’s Council Chambers and February 7th at 1:00 pm and 6:00 pm at the Driftwood Library’s Community Room in Lincoln City.
This January, the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners voted to begin the process of integrating their Community Land Trust into Proud Ground, which will result in a merger by July 2018. Although some ‘spokes’ will choose to maintain a long-term partnership agreement with Proud Ground, others, like Lincoln County, will choose to fully integrate their entity with Proud Ground. Lincoln County Commissioner Bill Hall testified to the pilot’s success, saying, “This is really the one model we’ve been able to find that’s going to provide homeownership needs to teachers, nurses, public safety people, the people that we really consider middle class working families who don’t have a chance at homeownership now.”
Proud Ground has interest from other ‘spokes’ across the state and in late 2017 was funded for the next three years by both Meyer Memorial Trust and the Collins Foundation to expand this model. The model’s success is dependent on the establishment of a local Advisory Board in the geographical area of each ‘spoke’, along with representation of each spoke as a member of Proud Ground’s Board of Directors.
For example, Hall explained that Lincoln County will continue to have say in what’s happening. “As of this month, I am joining the Board of Directors for Proud Ground, the statewide nonprofit, and we’re still going to keep a local oversight advisory committee in Lincoln County, as well,” he said. “So ultimately, local voices will guide what Proud Ground does in Lincoln County.”