Full Participation in Asset Building Program Creates Benefits for Low-Income Households
Low-income housing assistance recipients who participate in all stages of a public housing authority’s program to build financial, human, and social assets can receive substantial benefits, according to Anna Maria Santiago and her colleagues. The authors evaluated the Denver Housing Authority’s (DHA) Home Ownership Program (HOP), which is a two-stage enhanced variation of the Family Self-Sufficiency Program and provides financial education, counseling, and supportive services to address barriers to asset building for families who receive housing assistance. Families in the first stage focus on debt reduction, credit repair, savings growth, and employment enhancement. Once participants are within a year of being able to purchase a home, they move to the Home Buyers Club, where they receive real estate and finance training. Based on administrative data from 2001 to 2009, the authors matched families who participated in the program’s highest-intensity treatment, the Home Buyers Club, and those who completed the first stage but did not participate in the Home Buyers Club. The authors compared the two groups based on annualized earnings growth during the program, an economic security exit of the participant from DHA housing assistance, and participants’ homeownership status.
- Participants in the Home Buyers Club earned, on average, $3,294 more than those who did not participate in the high-intensity treatment.
- Home Buyers Club participants had a 55 percent chance of economic security when exiting DHA, compared with 14 percent for those who only received low- or moderate-intensity treatments.
- Those in the Home Buyers Club had a 30 percent chance of purchasing a home within five years of program enrollment. HOP enrollees who did not participate in the Home Buyers Club had a 2 percent likelihood of owning a home within that period.