CONVERGENCE Columbus Launches New Initiative: Bloom614

CONVERGENCE Columbus has launched a new initiative, Bloom614, a consumer site and effort aimed to support the homebuying journey for Black and minority residents.

CONVERGENCE is a city-based pilot program to promote and increase minority homeownership. It is currently live in Philadelphia, Memphis, Tenn., and Columbus, Ohio.

Bloom614 (with the 614 a reference to the area code for Columbus), interactively engages Black and minority residents with industry experts, tools to find mortgage products and other resources.

“Many Black and minority communities perceive homeownership as intangible due to limited generational knowledge about the homebuying process and general distrust in financial institutions based off a history of discrimination and abuse,” said Anna Teye-Kasongo, Director of Community Partnerships for the Affordable Housing Alliance of Central Ohio. “CONVERGENCE recognizes the gaps in information, trust, resources and market strategies that impede the success of our communities along the homebuying journey.” 

“Bloom614 bridges those gaps by demystifying the homebuying journey, celebrating consumer progress every step of the way, and providing wraparound support from industry professionals who share in CONVERGENCE’s commitment to eradicate the racial wealth gap. Additionally, Bloom614 takes transparency a step further by educating the community on the history of racial housing discrimination while beckoning residents to see homeownership as an opportunity to rewrite history and inspiring stakeholders to join the cause,” Teye-Kasongo continued.

The site, among other features, allows visitors to take a “readiness” quiz to determine if they’re set to buy a home, matches consumers with local and national down payments assistance products through the Downpayment Resource Matching Tool, and provides features for after individuals buy, such as information about refinancing, estate planning and foreclosure prevention.

Phase II of the site is also already underway, and will include an interactive journey map, housing glossary and more connections to local practitioners. A launch of the new version may be as soon as November.

The new initiative also has a presence on social media—specifically Facebook and Instagram.

CONVERGENCE Columbus is housed at the Affordable Housing Alliance of Central Ohio and was originally launched by the Mortgage Bankers Association, the Ohio Housing Finance Agency and the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University. The program is also supported by Huntington National Bank, Fifth-Third Bank and JP Morgan Chase.