The Foundation for Affordable Housing is an organization that helps individuals and families who cannot currently afford to buy a home. The organization is a separate, non-profit subsidiary of Central Christian Church.
The Foundation’s central program involves renting a house to a qualified buyer and training them in how to manage their money. Subsequently, a down payment is accumulated and the renter is allowed to assume the mortgage at a low interest rate. The Foundation’s group of volunteers work with potential homeowners by counseling and supervising them to ensure that they clear credit obstacles, accumulate down payments, and are able to assume the mortgage when they become eligible. These 28 volunteers select the applicants, and teach financial management skills and property care to clients in 23 monthly classes.
In 1997, the Foundation entered into a partnership with Community Ventures Corporation for a Lease/Purchase Program. This has been an exciting new outreach opportunity for Central Christian Church, and helps families and individuals who cannot currently qualify to buy a home. Program participants have the chance to obtain decent, affordable, rental housing while under close supervision and counseling. The Foundation actually owns the house for the period of time needed for the tenant to become eligible for financing. One eligible, the tenant assumes the loan, and the Foundation no longer has responsibility for the debt or the property.
William R. Embry, Jr., Chairman of the Foundation for Affordable Housing, has been the driving force in bringing both of these projects into reality. Volunteer members of Central Christian Church have volunteered many hours in helping to see the project move forward.
The Lease/Purchase concept was developed to provide an opportunity for people to move out of the Central Christian Church St. James Place, which is designed specifically for those who are trying to help themselves. Comprised of 99 apartment units, St. James Place space filled very quickly since its opening in 1994 and there has always been a list of people waiting for apartment at this location. The Lease Purchase program began in 1997 with Community Ventures cooperating with the Foudnation for Affordable Housing to provide the funding for this project. People who qualify for this program will receive ongoing counseling in financial planning, and assistance in dealing with the challenges of home ownership.
The idea to provide an affordable resident for working people in need started within the Lexington, Kentucky community in 1989. There was a growing awareness that many homeless persons did not qualify for existing housing programs. By most accounts, some 26% of the nation’s homeless population are working people – those who are doing the best they can to improve their situation, but who need the help of others if they are to succeed.
Bill Embry, an active member of Central Christian Church, was asked to serve on a community committee that was looking at this problem. With the help of Judy Lenthall, a participant in the successful Single Resident Occupancy program in San Diego, California, Embry successfully replicated the concept in Lexington.