Vancouver Housing Authority and partners launch affordable homeownership program

Date Published: 
May 17th, 2023

From the Vancouver Housing Authority:

To increase opportunities for affordable homeownership in Clark County, Wash., Vancouver Housing Authority and the VHA nonprofit Vancouver Affordable Housing (VAH) joined together with Evergreen Habitat for Humanity (EHFH) and Portland, Ore.-based Proud Ground to form the Clark County Affordable Homeownership Program. This partnership addresses the difficulties faced by first-time homebuyers entering the housing market — namely, the high median value of homes and lack of affordably priced inventory available for households earning less than 80% of the area median income.

VAH will enter into acquisition agreements with residential builders to construct homes for the program. The goal is to make homes below $430,000 available to individuals receiving homebuyer training from EHFH, Proud Ground or other nonprofits participating in the program. The agreement stipulates if a home is not sold to a program homebuyer within 30 days after the certificate of occupancy, VAH will purchase the home and retain ownership for up to 60 days. If the home is not sold to a homebuyer working with one of the program’s nonprofits within an additional 60 days, VAH may opt to sell the unit in the open market.

Agreements already in place with residential builders include Ginn Group, a Clark County residential developer and builder, and Wolf Industries, a Battle Ground, Wash.-based manufacturer of small modular homes. The initial offering of program homes is expected in the first quarter of 2024. Additional builder participation is sought. Homes may be single-family, townhomes or condos. Acquisition agreements for the program may be available for existing homes, including those requiring rehabilitation, as long as the home can be offered to program participants at an affordable cost. All homes must be located in Clark County. The Building Industry Association of Clark County offered to provide program information to its members to increase builder awareness and interest. 

A critical component of the program is the creation of an anticipated $3 million VHA/VAH Investment Fund, seeded with a $1.2 million, interest-free line of credit by Columbia Credit Union. This investment fund will be used occasionally by VAH to temporarily purchase program homes when homebuyer readiness and certificate of occupancy don’t perfectly align. In addition to Columbia Credit Union’s support, VHA looks to secure additional public and/or private participation in the VHA/VAH Investment Fund.

“Homeownership is one of the greatest generational wealth builders available to our community. Columbia Credit Union is dedicated to creating impactful partnerships that promote inclusive, significant financial wellness. The Vancouver Housing Authority is connecting the dots, weaving together a path forward, orchestrating innovation in our local housing inventory,” said Lindsey Salvestrin, Columbia Credit Union Interim President and CEO.

Potential homebuyers must earn below 80% AMI to participate in the program. They will need to complete homebuyer preparation with one of the participating nonprofits and qualify for a mortgage. In addition to being a founder in the program’s VAH Investment Fund, Columbia Credit Union is prepared to assist homebuyers with their mortgage options. The Clark County Affordable Homeownership Program will establish a goal of 75% BIPOC household participation. Applications are not yet accepted, but interested households can register their interest on the website

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