Metro Bank Partners with Local Churches to Realize Vision of Homeownership for Low-Income Residents
Metro Bank provided financing to two local churches for the acquisition and rehab of single-family residential units. Portland Memorial Missionary Baptist Church and Mount Hermon Missionary Baptist Church lease the properties to low-income individuals and families who have a long-term goal of homeownership. Church leaders recognized needs in the neighborhoods stemming from homelessness and unstable housing situations. “By placing stable factors into the neighborhoods, you slowly see the changes in the people and community,” says Rev. Stephen D. Smith, Senior Pastor.
The rental rates are set well below fair market rents and the tenants will have the opportunity to purchase the properties after 36 months, during which they are encouraged to participate in homeownership and credit counseling classes. Further, the churches help the families with parenting and other life skills. The children are provided a structured environment and programs that boost academic performance, reduce risky behaviors, and promote physical health. “Individuals of all demographics in the church and the community have stepped up to help and provide support in the venture,” says Rev. Smith.
Since 2015, over $180,000 in financing has been provided for six houses, which has resulted in placing six families on the path to homeownership. The houses are located in distressed communities with a weighted average poverty rate of 25%, unemployment rate of 15%, and median income of 50%. This effort has had impact on not only the families involved, but the neighborhoods surround the houses. Other vacant and abandoned homes in the neighborhoods are being rehabbed and the individuals are starting to feel more prideful about their area.
Metro Bank is the only CDFI Bank in Kentucky and does over 60% of its lending in low-income communities in Louisville. “Metro Bank provided the opportunity for funding and helped create capacity for the churches,” says Rev. Smith. “We are changing the community by changing the lives of individuals and families,” says Pedro Bryant, President and CEO of Metro Bank.