Published On: Thu, May 27th, 2021

Chief’s Corner: Housing Portfolio Program and Down Payment Assistance

 

Transcribed by Robert Jumper

 

Graphic per EBCI Division of Housing

Principal Chief Richard Sneed is presenting video chats with key guest speakers who work in different areas of tribal government and life. These videos are available via Chief Sneed’s Facebook page. The following transcribed edition is being made available to our readers with permission.

Chief Sneed: I am joined today by Secretary of Housing Edwin “Tiny” Taylor. We’re here to talk about two programs that are offered at Housing and Community Development. We’re going to talk about the Portfolio Program. We’re also going to talk about Down Payment Assistance with an external loan type. Tell us a little bit about the Portfolio Loan Program. How does that work and who qualifies for it?

Secretary Taylor: The Portfolio Loan Program’s open to enroll members who have applied for an external mortgage but for whatever reason was not able to qualify for the mortgage. The Tribe in years past has setup the program to provide funding for these enrolled members to make housing opportunities available. Any enrolled member who meets the qualifications, such as the debt to income ratios, having enough income to make the mortgage payment, would qualify for this if they were rejected externally.

Chief Sneed: One of the things I want to talk about is the number of portfolio loans that we’ve done in the last few years. Back in 2019, we did eight and in FY20 we processed 12 but already in FY21, really three months in, and we’ve already processed 11 portfolio loans. What are we looking like for the rest of the year? How many loans do you think we’re on pace to do?

Secretary Taylor: At this point it looks like we’ll be at 20 to 22 loans. We’re in the process of submitting the funding request to Tribal Finance for an additional $1.5 million to closeout FY2021.

Chief Sneed: That’s 21 families that will be in homes and I’m really excited about that and I know the families who are moving into the new homes are excited about that as well. Let’s talk a little bit about the external loans using DPA or Down Payment Assistance. What can you tell us about Down Payment Assistance?

Secretary Taylor: The Down Payment Assistance is housing assistance that’s provided by the Tribe. We will cover 20 percent of the down assistance payment costs for an enrolled member. Right now, we’ve got the Down Payment Assistance capped at $50,000. It was recently increased to account for the increase in housing prices and cost materials due to COVID-19.

Chief Sneed: With the Down Payment Assistance, if somebody utilizes that do they have to make that payment simultaneously as they’re making their house payment or when do they start paying the Down Payment Assistance off?

Secretary Taylor: No. It was set up as a soft second (mortgage). It sits behind the primary mortgage and once the primary mortgages is satisfied (paid off) and then the Down Payment Assistance loan is activated at that point; covers a period of five years on the repayment.

Chief Sneed: Is the DPA available just on the Boundary?

Secretary Taylor: In 2019 it was made available off the Boundary. Our enrolled members know that land on the reservation is limited. It just provides an additional opportunity for our members to own a home.

Chief Sneed: I think the data really bears that out too because if you look at 2019 or actually prior to 2019, in 2017 there were eight DPAs. In 2018 I think there were six but then in 2019 and it was close to the end of the year we made those available off Boundary. That number jumped to 11 and then in 2020 the number jumped exponentially to 25. So those 25 families that were able to use DPA off-Boundary to buy homes on deeded property. FY21, again just three months in, and we’ve already got 26 DPA’s with external loans that are processed. Again, three months in that’s 26 families that are in homes. Do you have a number of what we are on-pace to be?

Secretary Taylor: The highest that I can remember for the Down Payment Assistance program was probably around 45. At this rate it looks like we’re going to be at 65 maybe 70 depending on…We will probably have to request additional funding in order to meet that demand but when you look at it versus the Portfolio Program with the tribe having to fund 100% of the house payment, we’re actually taking a small amount of money leveraging into a larger amount of money that the Tribe doesn’t have to put up funding for these houses. The external leverage through external banks, the savings to the Tribe is significant.

Chief Sneed: I say thank you to Tiny for being here and I want to say thank you to his staff. They’ve been doing an outstanding job and while we’ve been on four-day workweeks, the Housing staff is continuing to work five days a week to process these loans because we want to get tribal members into homes.

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