Paula Woessner - Community Development Publications Editor
Published May 1, 2005 | May 2005 issue
This edition of Community Dividendcenters on the State of Minnesota's Emerging Markets Homeownership Initiative, or EMHI. As our main feature explains, EMHI is a comprehensive approach to closing some unacceptable gaps in Minnesota's homeownership rates. While a record percentage of the state's general population has achieved homeownership, the rates for Minnesota's new immigrants and people of color—collectively, its emerging market groups—are much lower. The gaps represent thousands who are left out of a significant rite of American life.
A second feature in this issue explores the facts behind Minnesota's homeownership disparities. It also offers points for EMHI's members to consider as they proceed. Next steps for the initiative are to finalize and enact a business plan, then measure its outcomes. At each stage, EMHI's partners will use existing tools and resources in new ways to achieve their desired results. The Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, which is the subject of our remaining feature, provides a likely tool for assessing EMHI's progress in the years ahead.
The idea of a statewide initiative to promote homeownership is not unique. Homeownership gaps for emerging market groups persist nationwide, and a number of other states have launched efforts to address them. For example, homeownership programs designed for Native American communities are a current focus of the South Dakota Housing Development Authority. One hoped-for result of EMHI and similar initiatives is that as they close gaps, they will open eyes to the importance of making homeownership a possibility in every community.