The Sisters of the Holy Family are proud sponsors of the The Religious Communities Investment Fund (RCIF), which has made a strong commitment to housing issues, and one of the newest loans, $100,000 to Portland, Oregon-based Proud Ground illustrates why. The low-interest loan replaces an earlier, conventional high-interest acquisition loan on the Svaboda Court development project. Located in the Lents Urban Renewal Area of Portland, Svaboda Court will be 8-12 duplex style, family-friendly townhomes that, priced between $130,000 and $155,000, will be affordable for an underserved segment of homebuyers. (In 2009, the median sales price for a market-rate home in Portland was a whopping $247,000!)

Tracie Cole with city officials and development partners at Pardee Commons ribbon cutting.

Tracie Cole with city officials and development partners at Pardee Commons ribbon cutting.

Like another Proud Ground project just across the street, Pardee Commons, Svaboda Court will be accessible to first-time, low-income homebuyers. The median household income of Proud Ground homeowners is $31,973. Proud Ground, explained executive director Jesse Beason, has a 0% foreclosure rate among its homeowners, because a core feature of the organization is post-purchase support for buyers. “We work like crazy with folks before and after the sale,” deputy director Kathy Armstrong told The Oregonian newspaper recently. “We’re known for our post-sale support.” Offering programs that help new homeowners maintain their homes and sharpen their financial management skills, Proud Ground also ensures that the homes will remain affordable for future generations, either through a land lease or an affordability covenant with the homebuyer. Since 1999, Proud Ground has created 118 new homeowners.

One of them, Tracie Cole (pictured at right, second from left) is the type of homeowner who will  be moving into Svaboda Court when those units are completed.  Proud Ground gave Tracie the chance to own her own home, after years of frustration with the rental apartments she could afford for her family. “I feel such joy,” Tracie exclaims, “I can’t believe this is really mine.”   Thrilled with finally becoming her “own landlord,” she says, “Besides being a single mother and a grandmother, there’s not a better feeling than becoming a homeowner.”

For more information on Proud Ground, visit www.proudground.org