Homeownership, a Necessary Step for Integration of Latinos/as in Northfield

Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin All of us who have purchased a home, know that it is a lot of work, requires a lot of knowledge and more than anything it requires access to resources and good financial planning. Without these and other key considerations, many people end-up in foreclosures.

In recent months, as part of the Newcomer Project that we undertook in partnership with the Northfield CAC, I have been putting together a plan with projects that deliver key elements of this program. The “green homes” project that I blogged about recently is one of them.

Another key project to deliver on the path to integration of the local Latino community in Northfield is related to home ownership, minorities still lag behind in this aspect of economic integration though it is recognized as a key aspect of healthy communities.

So where would one start to address the many complex and important issues associatd with learning the process, understanding the challenges and finding homes that fit the economic profile of many of the local Latino families?

One key step I know applies for all cases weather we are experts or new to an issue, is to ask for help. So, last Friday, I went to Saint Paul to meet with folks who know this work and have done it well for a long time.

The story is more complex, I was looking for help but help came to me through an e-mail from Susan Jackson, of American Dream Services, she lives in Northfield but works in St. Paul and was interested in offering this kind of training here in our area. I had information that Maritza Mariani was an Associate director of the Neighborhood Development Alliance in St. Paul and that their reputation in this area is among the best, but Susan was already talking with Maritza about this issue, so when her e-mail came, I was ready to move on the issue.

We met last Friday at American Dreams office in St. Paul and are now moving forward to put together a series of home ownership education trainings in Northfield. I will be posting new blogs on this project as there are many issues to cover, from predatory lending to what comes after the workshops, for now I feel that having these top notch team behind us is a solid start.