Local start-up to address fair and affordable housing in South Bend

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — the fight for fair and affordable housing in South Bend continues.

One local start-up is looking to restore equity in neighborhoods where big banks aren’t looking to invest.

“It seems like we have everything. We have the recipe for home ownership but something is not working,” said Jada McLean, co-founder of Hurry Home. “There’s a lack of financing.”

For about a decade the city has seen a shift from residents pursing home ownership to rentals.

According to the U.S Census, about 58 percent of homes in South Bend are owned while 42 percent are rented.

The state average for home ownership however, is nearly 70 percent.

“Renting is an option, but if we were to get more owners into these homes, people would be kind of incentivized to really put in, even sweat equity into these homes and contribute to the community overall,” said McLean.

To get a foot in the door at Invanti, entrepreneurs have to first find a problem.

Hurry Home is one of program’s inaugural start-ups.

“We spoke to people with the city, working with the city, community organizations, we talked to a number of people from banks,” said John gibbons, co-founder of Hurry Home.

Conversations led to revelations about disparities in home loan opportunities for some buyers.

Community members told McLean and Gibbons there are quite a few homes on the city’s southeast and west sides valued at $50,000 or less.

Many people would like to purchase those homes but they were considered too affordable for banks to make a profit.

“It has historical roots in a truly sad way that we’re hoping to address and help people build wealth that they can pass from generation to generation through home ownership,” said Gibbons.

Hurry Home looks be the answer to that problem.

Instead of a mortgage, potential buyers would pay Hurry Home monthly through a land contract until it’s paid in full.

“That allows it to track how much of this house or this equity someone has accumulated while they’re on the contract,” said McLean.

The folks at Hurry Home are hoping to launch before the end of the year.

The target is 10 homes and they’re working with La Casa de Amistad for buyers.

They say it’s not a solve-all but it’s a small step to restoring equity in communities that can use it.

“I think we’re just one piece of the puzzle and we all need it to revitalize this neighborhood and all of South Bend,” said McLean.

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