As funding sources dry up, bank partners with self-help housing

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Dave Dubois works on the roof of his home in Dayton on Saturday. Federal government cuts have changed funding for CAHI families.

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Dave Dubois works on the roof of his home in Dayton on Saturday. Federal government cuts have changed funding for CAHI families.

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DAYTON - Families who might not otherwise be able to afford a home, have been offered that opportunity through a newly expanded partnership between Citizens for Affordable Homes Inc. and Irwin Union Bank.

The timing for this expansion couldn't be more right, as the federal 2008 budget has no funds allocated for self-help housing through the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development, said Ron Trunk, CEO of CAHI. In the past, CAHI has depended on 100 percent of funding from USDA to cover the cost of new homes for its families.

The partnership was initially formed to cover costs of a townhouse project in Carson City and grew from there.

"Irwin Union is providing the interim loan and supplies those funds through the MyCommunityMortgage loan which is offered through Fannie Mae," said Bill McHale, mortgage underwriting manager for Irwin Union in Columbus, Ind. "This way families come up with virtually no money (up front and out of pocket) and they benefit from competitive pricing and receive the (final) loan at market rate."

Down-payment assistance is offered through Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis.

"It is a newer (concept) for private industry to work with a nonprofit in this manner," Trunk said. "And they're making sure that families will qualify (prior to beginning construction)."

Greg Nixon, Carson City market president and Heather Anderson, branch manager were also instrumental in the expansion.

"Irwin Union Bank is proud to provide funding for CAHI and make the dream of home ownership a reality for families in our community," Nixon said.

This is a way, Nixon said, the bank which was founded in 1879, can help the communities they do business in.

In Nevada's current real estate market, there is no realistic way a family could afford a $250,000 home, said Cindy Day, loan processor for CAHI.

"Their debt-to-income ratio on an average income will never allow them to qualify and (conventional homeowners) are losing their homes because they have an adjustable-rate mortgages, or bought in to a teaser rate and can't make their payments," she said. "This is not only affecting low-income families; it's just easier to blame them.

"Down-payment assistance is needed in order for regular families to own their own homes."

CAHI has only had one foreclosure out of 120 homes built, which underscores the commitment that comes from the families who take advantage of the program, Trunk said.

Nevada's Assembly Bill 259, which is presently in committee, offers hope of home ownership to a wider market, in that it raises the cap to qualify for a CAHI program to 110 percent of median income, said Tom Finch, CAHI self-help housing director, who testified at the Legislature recently.

"What goes on in the Legislature will determine if the money comes from state rather than federal funding," Finch said, adding the state now provides limited down-payment assistance.

For Trunk, it was simply time to look for nongovernment entities to help CAHI meet its mission.

"I really laud Irwin Union for stepping up," Trunk said.

Because of the partnership with Irwin Union, an additional 34 homes are planned for Dayton and eight town homes in Carson City.

"Irwin Union Bank is proud to be a part of this," McHale said. "We have branches in Reno and Las Vegas as well, and hope to work with CAHI in those areas to expand the opportunity for affordable housing to others."

• Contact reporter Karel Ancona-Henry at or 246-4000.


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