Building Equity: Homes by CFE Paves the Way for Ms. Godwin's Homeownership
Ms. Russhawn Godwin is now a first-time homeowner thanks to our new Homes by CFE mortgage program! Homes by CFE’s Down Payment Assistance Program provided the final piece of Ms. Godwin’s purchasing puzzle, on top of her own hard work and savings and the support she got from our partners in the DC government and Manna Homes, a nonprofit organization.
Now, Ms. Godwin is part of the first-ever group of a dozen Homes by CFE borrowers who have closed on their new homes in the past few weeks, half of them in Wards 7 and 8.
Ms. Godwin’s achievement is a tremendous milestone for her whole family. In this inspiring interview, she shared her dream of creating a safe haven for her extended family, her journey to take control of her financial life, and how Homes by CFE made it possible for her to achieve her dream.
“I had some hardships just like everyone. Sometimes I don’t consider a hardship to be a hardship; it’s painful, but it’s a milestone,” Ms. Godwin tells us. A native Washingtonian, Ms. Godwin initially didn’t think she could afford to stay in the District – so she was thrilled when Homes by CFE made it affordable for her to buy a home in Southeast DC. “I just wasn’t seeing how I could get a home where I was born and raised. Now I’m comfortable with my mortgage payments and I don’t have to move away. Homes by CFE was a blessing out of nowhere.”
CFE has been working towards this moment since 2021, when we partnered with Yale Law School’s Community and Economic Development Clinic to launch a new, cutting-edge tool with tremendous potential to disrupt the homeownership gap for families of color in our region. Designed as a Special Purpose Credit Program (known as an SPCP) under the terms of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, City First Homes, Inc. dba Homes by CFE is a subsidiary of City First Enterprises that provides game-changing funds for eligible Black and Latino families to bring affordable homeownership within reach.
“I just wasn’t seeing how I could get a home where I was born and raised. Now I’m comfortable with my mortgage payments and I don’t have to move away. Homes by CFE was a blessing out of nowhere.”
Through Homes by CFE, qualified families can receive up to 20% of their future home’s purchase price for down payments and up to an additional $10,000 in purchase assistance – as a second-trust loan with a five-year deferred interest period. This flexible funding can also be used to offset debt and cover closing costs.
“For generations, people of color in our region have been systematically left out of equal opportunities for homeownership,” points out Lisa Williams, Director of Mortgage Programs at Homes by CFE. “As rental and home prices continue to skyrocket, it’s more urgent than ever for us to address the disparities and break out of this unjust cycle. Homes by CFE is challenging the usual assumptions about who can achieve homeownership in DC and the scale of impact we can have on communities.”
Now, thanks to Homes by CFE and our partners – and the power of people like Ms. Godwin – we can offer a new, targeted framework for private lenders to service traditionally underserved communities.