Housing Education Program Wins Mutual of America’s Community Partnership Award
In 1996, Mutual of America Life Insurance Company created the Community Partnership Award to highlight the important contributions that nonprofit organizations, in partnerships with public, private and other social sector organizations, make to society. Every year Mutual of America Foundation recognizes ten organizations for their ability to stimulate new ideas in addressing social issues.
Among the organizations recognized this year is Off Reservation Home Assistance Program in partnership with CCCS of San Francisco.
For many Native Americans living on tribal lands, housing conditions are dismal. A long history of high unemployment, lack of financial education, insufficient income to accumulate savings and a lack of affordable housing options have led to dependency and depression, and have put home ownership out of reach for most.
The Off Reservation Home Assistance Program has made homeownership more readily available to Native Americans from Northern California’s Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake and Butte counties. This partnership between the Northern Circle Indian Housing Authority and Consumer Credit Counseling Service of San Francisco uses HUD grants earmarked for building homes on tribal lands to help tribal members buy home off the reservation.
To ensure participants not only understand how to buy a home, but have the financial aptitude to keep it, they are required to attend personal financial and money management courses provided by CCCS of San Francisco.
The Northern Circle Indian Housing Authority provides assistance with the loan for a down payment. The agency also provides support throughout the buying process.
Since the inception in 1998, the Off Reservation Home Assistance Program has helped 53 Native American individuals and families buy homes and, in the process, achieve financial stability and independence.
During the Luncheon organized by Mutual of America on April 28, 2005 to honor the Northern Circle Indian Housing Authority and Consumer Credit Counseling of San Francisco Darlene Tooley, Executive Director of the Northern Circle thanked CCCS and it’s Housing Education Program for the outstanding service provided to the program participants, making it possible for their dreams of homeownership to come true.
Among many people recognized at the Luncheon for their personal contribution to the program, were Rick Harper—for the leadership in collaboration of the two organizations, Anton Mares, former Housing Manager, Erica Sandberg, and the whole staff of the Housing Education Program of CCCS of San Francisco.
Rick accepted the award and thanked the leadership and Board of CCCS for the support and flexibility that made participation in this program possible and stated “We are here to serve and educate the community and to assist more people in reaching for the dream."