The Twin Cities metro has a significant affordable housing issue. More than half of a million people in the Twin Cities metro spend more than 30% of their income on housing, and the homeownership gap continues to widen for non-white households due to housing costs rising faster than wages, declines in the amount of affordable housing inventory within the region, and systemic and institutional barriers to credit.
In 2017, Bremer Bank partnered with Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity (TCHFH) to launch a homebuying program that has transformed how Habitat serves its communities, doubled Habitat’s impact, and today serves as a worldwide model for Habitat affiliates. Called the Home Loan Impact Fund, the program is based on a commitment from Bremer to purchase 500 below-market Habitat mortgages over the course of four years. The below-market interest rate provided by Bremer helps to subsidize the affordability gap, and more than doubles the number of local families who can partner with TCHFH on affordable homeownership. It is the largest single bank partnership for any Habitat affiliate in its history.
Three years into the program, Bremer has purchased 317 loans, totaling approximately $55 million. The program has effectively reached very low-income, diverse, and larger families who have trouble finding large rental housing in this tight market and face a severely limited supply of starter homes.