Those who have never owned a home, but are considering buying one, may be overwhelmed with aspects to consider and may not even know where to start. A non-profit in Los Angeles recently hosted an all-day event at Southwestern Law School for just such potential homeowners.
The event was the 16th annual one hosted by Korean Churches for Community Development (KCCD, which will soon change its name to Faith and Community Empowerment), during which banks, experts in the field, and government officials attended and offered practical advice to new and potential homeowners. According to KCCD, more than 8,800 people have been educated on homeownership through the annual events since its beginnings.
More than 180 individuals from 25 different cities attended this most recent event which took place in early July.
Hyepin Im, the executive director and CEO of KCCD, emphasized the importance of homeownership by citing some statistics. For instance, the net worth of homeowners is 36 times greater than that of renters, according to a Federal Reserve study, she said.
“We have one of the lowest rates of homeownership in the country. It actually has declined since the Great Recession and has not rebounded,” said Ben Winter from the Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Office. “I think organizations like KCCD/FACE are so important to help navigate this challenging housing market.”
At the homeownership fair, numerous banks presented the loan products they offer, including Union Bank, U.S. Bank, Boston Private, HSBC Bank, Bank of the West, and MB Financial Bank.
Government assistance programs were also presented, including one offered by the City of Los Angeles called the Low-Income Purchase Assistance (LIPA). Currently, LIPA provides up to $60,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance to qualifying first-time home buyers. That will soon increase to $90,000 “in the coming months,” according to George Guillen of the City of Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department (HCIDLA).
Meanwhile, KCCD offers free counseling sessions for potential home buyers in English, Spanish, and Korean.