Praxia Partners’ initiative, Community Building Partners, was integral to the development of Framingham Village. Framingham– tucked into North East Columbus– combines high-quality affordable family housing and single-family homes to break down barriers to African-American homeownership.
African-American families were hit hard by the foreclosure crisis and the predatory lending that lead to it. The lessons of Framingham Village are particularly relevant today.
North East Columbus is a predominately black area, and stable communities are vital to every neighborhood’s well-being. In the 1970s and 80s, redlining and discriminatory lending practices were common. Dayspring Christian Community Development Corporation, Homeport, and Community Building Partners united to revitalize an abandoned subdivision and support homeownership, quality affordable housing, and a safe, stable neighborhood.
By forming a lease/ownership structure not previously utilized under the Low-income Housing Tax Credit, the three organizations developed a service-enriched community that has provided a remarkably stable rental community and supported African-American homeownership.
Praxia Partners’ Joe Recchie explains how the lease/ownership option works. “The units are leased and re-leased on 12 month leases. After 15 years and the retirement of the corporate limited partner, the partnership makes available the units to the existing resident. If the resident is not interested in ownership, the partnership either continues to rent that unit, or finds other suitable housing for the resident and the partnership makes the property available to another prospective homeowner.” This creates a stable community that offers homeownership opportunities.
Eventually, two more nonprofits joined the team: Renaissance (an affiliate of New Salem Baptist church) and My Brother’s Keeper (an affiliate of Mt. Herman Baptist Church).
Homeownership is key to creating wealth, and the wealth gap between black and white families is disturbingly extreme. Framingham Village offers one example to how an entire neighborhood can be revitalized.