As part of its commitment to champion affordable housing locally, Bay Federal Credit Union has pledged $1.5 million in low-interest financing for families in the Habitat for Humanity Monterey Bay program.
Up until now, Habitat Monterey Bay has carried and serviced all the loans for its homes. Going forward, Bay Federal’s financial support will enable Habitat Monterey Bay to serve even more families as it looks to expand its portfolio of affordable homes by 30% over the next five years. With volunteer labor and often- discounted property, $1.5 million will translate into approximately five new dwellings.
“Bay Federal is committed to this community and committed to advocating for affordable housing,” said Carrie Birkhofer, President and CEO of Bay Federal. “We’ve worked with Habitat for many years, and we were in a unique position to help. I’m confident that this partnership will make a real financial difference in the lives of local families.”
While Bay Federal has worked with Habitat Monterey Bay in the past to provide families with counseling from a certified financial educator ahead of their home purchase, this is Habitat Monterey Bay’s first partnership for third-party financing. Third-party financing is a proven model at other Habitat for Humanity organizations across the nation, in which families take out loans at below-market interest rates with established lenders instead of carrying zero-interest mortgages through Habitat for Humanity.
“Historically, Habitat for Humanity Monterey Bay has been building and financing two homes a year,” said David Foster, Executive Director of Habitat Monterey Bay. “Bay Federal Credit Union’s mortgage assistance enables Habitat to increase affordable housing production. This is what community partnerships are all about. Hurrah for Bay Federal Credit Union!”
The Kirbys in Live Oak were the first Habitat Monterey Bay family to secure funds for their new home through Bay Federal. They moved in on June 16 after fulfilling their sweat equity commitment (an investment of unpaid labor) and undergoing training on personal finance and maintenance for homeowners, among other requirements.
Habitat Monterey Bay serves individuals and families who earn 50%-80% of the Area Median Income according to the state, in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. When evaluating applications, Habitat Monterey Bay considers ability to pay, location, willingness to participate in the building process, and need which can include overcrowding, safety, or rent that is unsustainable as a percentage of salary. Those who receive funding through Bay Federal must qualify according to the Credit Union’s underwriting requirements.
Habitat Monterey Bay opens application windows when new builds are far enough along in the planning stages. It currently has an application window open, seeking a family with a mobility disability, until October 19. The three-bedroom, two-bath home in Live Oak will be wheelchair accessible and fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Habitat Monterey Bay processes applications on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Habitat for Humanity creates opportunities for families to transform their lives, gaining the strength, stability, and self-reliance they need to build a better future. Habitat builds homes with affordable mortgages, counsels first-time homebuyers, and revitalizes neighborhoods in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties. For more information, please call 831.469.4663 or visit www.habitatmontereybay.org.
Bay Federal Credit Union is a full-service, not-for-profit financial institution that serves more than 71,000 members and 1,200 local businesses throughout Santa Cruz, San Benito, and Monterey counties since 1957.