Statement by WHEDA CEO Joaquín Altoro:
At WHEDA, we are working to cultivate more equitable, inclusive communities where all find the opportunity to thrive and a place to call home.
During June, Pride Month and National Homeownership Month bring these topics into focus, connecting the importance of self-determination with economic freedom.
The roots of Pride Month lie in the struggles of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to build community acceptance. Wisconsin can take some credit for its first-in-the-nation law in 1982 to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment and housing. Yet today, the struggle is far from over.
National Homeownership Month highlights another key dimension of strong communities. Homeownership improves the health, education and economic outcomes of homeowners and their families. It is also a critical tool in building wealth and increasing social equity.
Unfortunately, for many in the LGBTQ community, for people of color and for other under-represented communities, barriers to homeownership still exist. Throughout my career, I’ve been privileged to have colleagues and co-workers share their struggles with me.
For some, the fear of finding a neighborhood in which they and their partners will feel welcome has lengthened their stay in high-cost rental housing. For others, technical and financial barriers played a role.
Unmarried LGBTQ couples may need extra support to complete mortgage, insurance and other legal documents while singles may face affordability hurdles, particularly given today’s rapidly rising home prices.
As an equal housing lender, WHEDA’s efforts to cultivate an ecosystem of greater equity include webinars for first-time homebuyers that guide people through the process. More information about our upcoming first-time homebuyer webinar on June 9 can be found here. WHEDA also provides training and support for other lenders statewide so that they are prepared to encourage, educate and accommodate all who are ready to pursue the dream of homeownership.
WHEDA’s low-cost, single-family mortgages, down-payment assistance loans and home improvement financing also expand opportunities for homeownership. Since 1972, these financing tools have helped more than 135,000 people achieve homeownership.
This June, WHEDA salutes all who have struggled to create welcoming communities where opportunity is an open door and homeownership is within reach. We urge members of the LGBTQ community to consider starting on the path to homeownership and all that it means for the future.
We welcome opportunities to learn and continue the dialogue on topics surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion. Please reach out with your ideas and comments to [email protected]. To keep up with information about WHEDA resources and information, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn or sign up to receive emails here.