Funded on September 1, 2022

Existing research finds that homeownership is associated with increases in access to housing and neighborhood stability, which leads to better physical and mental health outcomes. One key factor determining whether homeownership is attainable for prospective homebuyers is housing affordability.  For first-time homebuyers and low- and middle-income families, low-cost properties provide the opportunity to shift from renting to owning their homes. Traditional mortgage financing, however, is often not accessible for purchasing low-cost properties. 

Small-dollar mortgage access is a tool with the potential to address this gap in access. It can make homebuying more affordable and help low- and middle-income families become homeowners. It also has the potential to help close the racial homeownership gap in housing markets that have historically had inequitable housing policies and practices. This project seeks to understand how communities can utilize small-dollar mortgage access as a solution that can effectively improve equity, asking: How can intentional lending practices and homebuyer programs in disinvested communities lead to more cohesive, healthier neighborhoods and accelerate the closing of racial wealth gaps? The study will explore whether small dollar mortgages in Cincinnati increase economic mobility in communities of color with a focus on Black women in Hamilton County.