Manna recognizes that one of the most important aspects of its work is providing the educational opportunities to encourage lower-income families to believe they can own a home of their own. James A. Johnson, former Chairman of the Fannie Mae Foundation reflected on his ten years as chairman and said, "I've learned that one of the most powerful things we can do to increase homeownership is to provide people with the information they need to understand the housing finance system. Since we began our outreach in 1994, the percentage of African Americans who say they are 'comfortable' with their knowledge of how to buy a home has risen by 68 percent. We believe there is a clear link between the rising rate of minority homeownership and the greater degree of comfort minorities have with the home-buying process."
What is the Homebuyer's Club?
Manna was the first organization in the country to create a Homebuyers Club, which is a peer support group and a homeownership counseling program. This program, created in 1986, has been replicated nationally by NeighborWorks America (formerly the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation). Manna offers very low-, low-, and moderate-income residents of DC a comprehensive program of education and peer support to prepare for home purchase and to sustain that investment of time and money by supporting them. Many lower-income families seek the American Dream, i.e. owning a home, but have little or no understanding of what it takes to achieve their goal. For many prospective Manna homeowners we recommend that they enroll in Manna's nationally respected and replicated Homebuyers Club.
What can the Homebuyer's Club do for me?
The Manna Homebuyers Club is a guided support group for prospective homebuyers. The goal is to encourage the club members to save toward the downpayment on a home and to give them the tools and knowledge required to prepare for the mortgage application and approval process. The Homebuyers Club is often the necessary impetus a prospective homebuyer needs to make the commitment to save for a downpayment and succeed in fulfilling the dream of homeownership. Through the Homebuyers Club many who have traditionally been renters have made the sacrifices necessary to become homeowners and stakeholders in the community.
How do I join the Homebuyer's Club?
Prospective homebuyers are interviewed by the Homebuyers Club staff to ascertain their readiness for buying a home. When it is determined how much preparation is needed, new prospects are invited to join a chapter of the Homebuyers Club.
How often are the Homebuyer's Club meetings?
Each Chapter meets once a month for a 90-minute session of sharing and training for homeownership. Because our members are often arriving directly from work, a light dinner is served before the evening begins. Childcare is also provided to assist families who could not otherwise participate because of small children.
What happens at the meetings?
Each chapter member is called upon to celebrate his/her past month's savings or to explain why he/she may have failed to meet a goal set for that month. The group (20-30 persons per chapter) offers encouragement and challenge to one another to meet their savings goals and serve as support for one another in the process of making and sticking to budgets and other money management skills and strategies. After each participant reports the past month's successes and struggles, they are called upon to challenge themselves with new goals for the coming month. Following upon this support aspect of the Club, the Manna Homebuyers Club staff, and occasionally community volunteers, present material intended to teach and encourage the members to further prepare themselves for the day they will purchase their own home.
This educational component of the program addresses topics that include: personal budgeting, checking accounts, credit, saving, finding a home, homeownership, types of ownership, home purchase assistance, mortgages, and applying for a mortgage. Since its inception more than 325 families have "graduated" from the Homebuyers Club (purchased a home), and of those families only one has experienced foreclosure.
To join today, please fill out the following application and you will be contacted by the Homebuyer's Club Staff.
Our online application is currently unavailable. Please print and mail this PDF version.