Invest Close to Home with the Homewise Community Investment Fund

By Laura Altomare, CFRM, Director of Communications and Development, Homewise

Homewise is a non-profit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that offers a comprehensive suite of homeownership services for low-to-moderate income individuals and families, many of whom have been largely underserved by traditional lending institutions. Our services include financial education and coaching, real estate brokerage, mortgage lending, home improvement and refinance lending, real estate development and disinvested property rehabilitation. Each of our services is designed to bolster our other services, providing a one-stop resource for creating an accessible and affordable path to successful homeownership.

Since our founding in 1986, we’ve helped over 14,000 households become more financially educated, 3,600 become homeowners, 2,100 make energy-efficient home improvements and emergency repairs, 600 refinance to more affordable mortgages, and we have built over 600 high-quality affordable homes. These results are made possible through the support of our investors and donors, who serve as our partners in helping families build financial resilience and stability through successful homeownership.

Earn a financial return on your investment and contribute to the vitality of our communities

The Homewise Community Investment Fund offers a source of capital for Homewise. This Fund is for individual investors seeking to bridge the gap between social impact and their investment portfolios. Investments in the Fund are pooled and used to finance fixed-rate mortgages for families in our communities, energy and water conserving home improvement loans and the development of affordable energy conserving homes. Investments directly impact community vitality and the financial security of New Mexico families.

Shape your future by investing in underserved populations in New Mexico

Investors in the Homewise Community Investment Fund may elect for their investment to be used for Homewise’s general purposes in support of our mission to help create successful homeowners so that they improve their financial wellbeing and contribute to the vitality of our communities. Investors may also choose to target their investments toward one of the following programs aimed to serve specific underserved populations:

Erika Balderas and her family became homeowners through the Homewise New American Lending Program

The New American Lending Program

Homeownership is an important way that Americans create financial security and build wealth, which is critical to family financial well-being and quality of life. In fact, researchers at Brandeis University found it was the most important factor explaining the racial wealth gap. However, many families, especially those in the immigrant population, face obstacles that lock them out of the long-term economic benefits of homeownership.

Many of those in the immigrant population do not have a Social Security number and most have limited credit history, which often disqualifies them from obtaining an affordable mortgage loan. In many cases the only creditors who will lend to these borrowers are those with products offering high interest rates and unfavorable terms. Without access to affordable financing, homeownership remains an out-of-reach dream.

Homewise, in partnership with a mission-focused credit union, offers a special fixed-rate 30-year mortgage loan program for clients with an ITIN (Individual Tax Identification Number) instead of a Social Security number, helping to break down barriers to homeownership for this underserved population.

There is also a need for high quality financial literacy education serving the immigrant population to enable individuals and families to achieve their financial and homeownership goals. Homewise offers free financial literacy education in English and Spanish to help underserved New Mexicans manage money, reduce debt, repair credit, and build savings in order to build long-term financial wellbeing through homeownership. Our curriculum is aligned with the Homewise homeownership process to support clients on an affordable and sustainable path to successful homeownership.

Since 2014, Homewise has made 185 loans totaling over $15,450,000 to new homeowners through the New American Lending program without a single defaulted loan, proving that offering affordable, responsible financing options coupled with focused, high quality financial literacy education can result in high quality loan portfolios.

Energy-Efficiency and Solar Lending Programs

Eric Luchetti, a proud Homewise solar loan client

Homewise provides special lending programs that help make energy-efficient home improvements feasible for low-and moderate-income homeowners who historically have not had adequate access to credit, capital, and financial services. These loans are focused on energy and water saving improvements and repairs to address the rising cost of energy and the conservation of natural resources in our community. Additionally, Homewise offers loan programs to help make solar energy affordable and accessible to low- and moderate-income homeowners.

In 2014, with the support of our founding benefactors Richard Khanlian and Ann Alexander, Homewise established the Solar Opportunity Loan (SOL) Fund. The SOL Fund is aimed at making solar obtainable for regular income households, rather than a luxury reserved for the very wealthy. The Fund accomplishes this goal by reducing and eliminating the barriers that prevent people from switching to solar energy, namely up-front product and installation costs. These existing barriers are especially burdensome for low- and moderate-income homeowners who lack the liquid savings to pay the upfront equipment and installation costs associated with converting to solar energy. By offering access to affordable fixed-rate loans with terms up to 30 years, many households find that their solar loan payments are lower than they previously paid in their electric bills. Since 2010, Homewise has helped 174 households convert to solar energy and make solar-related improvements through affordable and accessible financing.

For impact investors seeking both a financial and social return on their investment, the Homewise Community Investment Fund offers a unique investment opportunity. The Fund generates social returns that can be measured in number of homeowners with decreased debt, increased credit and savings. Additionally, environmental returns can be measured in energy saved and number of energy efficient homes built. Measurable impact is reported to investors bi-annually.

Learn more about the Homewise Community Investment Fund online:

Article by Laura Altomare
, CFRM, Director of Communications and Development for Homewise Inc.

Laura is responsible for directing the organization’s grant procurement, investor relations, fundraising, communication, and marketing strategies. Laura earned a B.A. in English Literature from Colorado State University and holds a Certificate in Fundraising Management from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. She also holds certifications from the Soul of Money “Fundraising from the Heart” Institute and the NeighborWorks America Training Institute.

This notice is not an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy, nor shall there be any sale of securities in any state in which such offer, solicitation, or sale is not authorized. The offering is made solely by the Prospectus, which more fully describes certain risks involved in a purchase of securities. The securities are not FDIC or SIPC insured, are not bank deposits, and are not guaranteed by any federal agency. 

Energy & Climate, Featured Articles, Impact Investing, Sustainable Business

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