Section Highlights

NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Centers

Nearly 100 NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Centers are serving communities nationwide. These centers offer a "one-stop" shopping for prospective homebuyers and homeowners.

Each center is situated within a participating NeighborWorks organization. Our models helps our members attract new customers and significantly boosting home ownership among the nation’s most underserved buyers — women, minorities and families of modest means. (See diagram)

Services and Products of NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Centers

Homebuyer education, ranging from introductory group orientations to intensive, individualized counseling, usually in the customers’ first language;

  • Energy efficiency programs
  • Asset building and wealth creation programs
  • Home inspections and cost estimates
  • Affordable first and second mortgages
  • Property insurance counseling
  • Contractor referrals and construction monitoring
  • Home-maintenance workshops
  • Training classes for resident leaders and neighborhood groups
  • Delinquency-prevention counseling

Why HomeOwnership Centers Matter
NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Centers address three problems that can hamper community-development efforts, especially when groups move beyond a single, local market area:

  • Opportunities to own a home vary enormously across cities, counties, and regions;
  • Low- and moderate-income home-owners are vulnerable to circumstances that can result in delinquency and default, and require ongoing support;
  • Large-scale replication of a successful model is usually prohibitively costly.

The NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Center model provides a basic operating framework, and there are common elements including marketing and the range of products and services provided. Within that, however, there are opportunities for individual centers to customize their product and service offerings based on local market needs. The core homebuyer education, home inspection, home-improvement lending, and postpurchase services are designed to “delinquency-proof” borrowers who, due to lower incomes, savings or other characteristics may be at higher risk for delinquency or default.

The Value Added by HomeOwnership Centers
The most innovative feature of NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Centers is their market-based strategy of delivering comprehensive, high-quality home-ownership services at declining per-unit costs.

The implementation of uniform standards, reduction of duplicative efforts, and peer-to-peer sharing of winning strategies produces economies of scale and speeds up the dissemination of knowledge and lessons learned through the entire network of NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Centers. This innovative approach keeps buying a home as simple as possible, and makes it easier to reach out to customers with special financial, cultural or language needs. Each new buyer receives the training needed to support long-term success as a homeowner. In addition, the training connects home ownership with community involvement, and trains homebuyers in community leadership strategies.

Standards and Technical Assistance
NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Center Standards
Neighborhood Reinvestment and the NeighborWorks network established a short set of outcome-oriented standards for HomeOwnership Centers to ensure that services were consistent in quality and scope across the nation. Organizations that are selected and funded to develop a NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Center are required to meet or exceed the established standards in the following categories:

  • Leadership
  • Full-Cycle LendingSM certification
  • Customer service
  • Customer-tracking systems
  • Cost recovery and partners
  • Marketing materials
  • Staffing
  • Home-ownership production
  • Service-delivery systems
  • Financial-management systems
  • Location and design
  • Monitoring and evaluation


Technical Assistance Received
To achieve the above standards, each NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Center receives considerable financial and technical assistance, as well as marketing and promotional support. Selected organizations are eligible to receive assistance in the following categories:

  • Start-up funding
  • Location and design technical assistance
  • Marketing
  • Peer support
  • Predevelopment funding
  • Feasibility and market analysis
  • Partnership development
  • Training opportunities for staff
  • Research and evaluation
  • Internal systems
For more information on NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Programs, please contact Karen Hoskins.
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