Highlight on Housing in our Community
Teresa Leger de Fernandez is a Boardmember of Homewise, a nationally recognized leader in affordable housing development and financing here in our home city of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Homewise was founded as Neighborhood Housing Services of Santa Fe in 1986. At that time the organization focused on home improvement/rehabilitation services, with two employees working on projects primarily in one Santa Fe neighborhood. In the 1990s, Homewise grew into a full-service agency helping Santa Fe’s low and moderate income residents buy homes. Since then Homewise has grown to a 62-employee organization offering a range of homeownership services throughout northern New Mexico.
The Homewise mission is to help create successful homeowners so that they improve their financial wellbeing and contribute to the vitality of our communities.
Our mission is more than just a series of words put together in a mission statement. It’s the heart and soul of everything we do. After 31 years, most people know about our work to help create successful homeowners so that they improve their financial wellbeing, but may not be as familiar with how that work contributes to the vitality of our communities. That’s what this year’s annual report is all about: Building community, one home at a time.
Housing is a basic human need and for the typical family it is the largest portion of the monthly budget. It is only after we have met our basic human needs can we start to think about higher aspirations, like actively participating in and giving back to our communities. In this year’s report, we’re sharing the story of Jeanette Iskat, a Homewise client who used her achievement of homeownership as a launching pad for embracing her communityminded aspirations. We invite you to read her inspiring story, watch the video, and learn more about the organizations she works with to create a more vital community. For Jeanette, like so many of our clients, her commitment to her community is fueled and supported by having a place of her own to call home.
A home of your own is more than the wood, tile and stucco that go into it. It’s a place to raise a family, build wealth, and be a part of a community. Guided by our mission, we work to help individuals, families, and communities unlock the power of homeownership as a transformative tool to creating places of vibrancy, from inside our own homes to outside in our shared communities. Homewise helped to create 372 new homeowners in New Mexico this year, and each will continue to have a ripple effect of success in his or her
Since our founding in 1986, we’ve helped:
• 13,100+ households through financial education workshops • 3,600+ people purchase homes • 2,000+ people make home improvements • 600+ people refinance their mortgages
This year, we launched several new initiatives that support historically underserved populations and further our mission to help families improve their financial security and strengthen local communities. Our New Americans Lending Program offers those without a social security number a fixed-rate, affordable mortgage option to help break down the traditional barriers to accessing financing to buy a home. We’re also excited to launch our newest Homewise Homes community at Oshara Village in Santa Fe. We’re building 40 new energy efficient homes to help further support the availability of affordable, quality homes in Santa Fe. With flexible live/work space and a modern, clean design, we’re introducing something truly unique into the Santa Fe new home marketplace.
The mission of Homewise and Homestart is to help create successful homeowners so that they improve their financial wellbeing and contribute to the vitality of our communities.
Many of our customers come through our doors doubting their ability to own a home. They may be the first person in their family to try. They may have been told by other lenders that they don’t qualify. They may have fear about the complexities of homeownership and wonder if it is even meant for them.
That is when they discover that Homewise offers a path to homeownership for so many people just like them, people who often believe that this goal is simply out of their reach. Through education, personal support, and affordable common-sense lending, Homewise helps our customers get from a place to live to owning a home.