Homeownership Means Opportunity
Homes by CFE increases homeownership for low- to moderate-income households, strengthening disinvested communities and helping to build generational wealth and opportunity.
We envision more vibrant, just, and resilient neighborhoods with higher employment, greater self-sufficiency, and equitable access to services and opportunity.
Homes by CFE helps counter long-term disinvestment in DC’s minority communities by providing capital and advisory services to level the playing field and increase homeownership among those who have been priced out of the housing market. Our expertise, funds, and creativity are changing the future for Black and Latinx households in DC.
Background + Timeline
Community development leaders came together to discuss how to help rectify the damage that years of discrimination, disinvestment, and redlining had done to people and communities of color in DC. As a result, a consensus emerged to create City First Enterprises (CFE), a nonprofit financial institution aimed at reinvigorating the neighborhoods in which residents were still dealing with the fallout (now expanded to the DC and Baltimore metropolitan areas).
CFE’s founders established City First Bank, DC’s first community development bank. The bank has since merged with Southern California-based Broadway Federal to create the publicly traded City First Broadway (NASDAQ: BYFC), the largest Black-led Minority Depository Institution in the United States. CFE’s ownership of CFB shares renders CFE a bank holding company, yet CFE and CFB are independent entities with their own boards, lending policies, and staff. Additionally, CFE is one of more than 500 nonprofit Community Development Financial Institutions nationally, a designation given by the US Treasury to entities that expand economic opportunity in low-income communities by providing access to financial products and services for local residents and businesses.
CFE developed and submitted a plan to the DC government to address housing affordability and gentrification. As a result, the DC government incorporated the plan into the Workforce Housing Act of 2006.
The DC government awarded CFE the needed funding to create City First Homes (CFH), a subsidiary CDFI, that would help address the rapid displacement of low- and moderate-income families by advancing homeownership in DC.
CFH launched operations and purchased, rehabilitated, and resold four properties to borrowers with under 120% of the Median Family Income (MFI). Each property was secured with a covenant and a deed of trust and purchased by CFH clients at an affordable price, enabling them to buy a home that suited their family’s needs and finances.
CFH initiated the Shared Appreciation Program (now also called the Legacy Program), which has helped more than 100 homeowners at or below 120% AMI secure affordable homes in DC.
In recognition of the vital role that Limited Equity Cooperatives play in affordable housing and the challenge borrowers face finding lenders who will finance the purchase of cooperative shares, CFH developed the Cooperative Share Loan product. Through this initiative, CFH assisted seven prospective homeowners with loans, providing much-needed financing with affordable repayment terms.
Residents of Southeast DC came together to form an advisory committee and explore the possibility of creating a community land trust to combat the rapid gentrification of areas east of the Anacostia River. CFH then partnered with community members and the nonprofit 11th Street Bridge Park to secure funding to create what would eventually become the Douglass Community Land Trust (DCLT). CFH and CFE incubated the DCLT until its launch in April 2019.
CFH began the design of a new down payment assistance program utlizing the legal framework of Special Purpose Credit Programs (SPCPs), an innovation that allows us to focus on assisting Black and Latinx borrowers — the residents who experience the most significant gap in homeownership in DC.
We rebranded CFH as “Homes by CFE” to underscore the alignment of the organizations in serving underinvested communities. Homes by CFE launched the Down Payment Assistance (DPA) Program, an SPCP, to provide borrowers with access to affordable down payment and closing cost assistance. Together with our partners and the communities we serve, we are building on CFH’s legacy of promoting homeownership among those who have been overlooked in traditional mortgage lending in DC.