CONVERGENCE Columbus Launches Maude Hill Growing Homeownership Fund

CONVERGENCE Columbus and Homeport recently announced the launch of the Maude Hill Growing Homeownership Fund, a $1 million investment that will provide financial assistance to help close Columbus, Ohio’s homeownership gaps.

The Fund received grants from a broad coalition of donors including fair housing specialists, financial institutions, civic leaders, the City of Columbus and community partners.

In central Ohio, the gap between the Black and White homeownership rate is larger today than it was immediately after the Fair Housing Act was passed in 1968. This makes Columbus’ 32% racial homeownership gap the second-largest among big cities.

Studies show a major contributor to the gap is the lack of down payment resources. The Center for Responsible Lending estimated it takes 14 years for a typical Black renter to save for a small down payment and 11 years for a typical Hispanic household, compared to 9 years for the average White buyer.

The Fund, a Special Purpose Credit Program, provides up to $15,000 in homebuyer grants. The Fund is designed for households that have moderate incomes, are Franklin County residents buying their first home, are approved for an affordable mortgage loan and identify as Black, Latinx, or a member of another economically disadvantaged class. All participants receive hands-on homebuyer education to support sustainable homeownership. The Fund is named in honor of Maude Hill, an iconic Columbus change agent, human servant and equitable housing advocate.

The initiative was led by housing experts from CONVERGENCE Columbus. Anna Teye-Kasongo, Director of Community Partnerships at the Affordable Housing Alliance of Central Ohio, who administers the coalition, said CONVERGENCE Columbus “builds sustainable pathways to homeownership for everyone by dissecting and tackling the unique barriers Black and minority buyers face. The Growing Homeownership Fund is another great example of how collaboration, education and innovation are working to remedy a history of segregation and inequity.”

The Fund is operated by the local nonprofit, Homeport. Leah Evans, Homeport’s President & CEO called it a strategic priority of Homeport “to expand household equity for Black people and people of color. While building homes is essential in attaining this goal, a key element of that is ensuring that homeownership is not just accessible, but sustainable,” she said. “Homebuyer education is the number one foreclosure prevention tool and prepares our clients for the ups and downs of homeownership, ensuring that we create opportunities that last and empower people to build wealth that carries through generations.”

Mortgage Bankers Association President and CEO Bob Broeksmit, CMB called the Maude Hill Growing Homeownership Fund a “shining example” of what is possible through collaboration and a shared goal.

“The downpayment assistance from the Fund will enable more families to enjoy the benefits of homeownership and the generational wealth-building opportunities that come with it,” Broeksmit said. “MBA is proud to support CONVERGENCE Columbus’ vital work.”

Additional information on the Fund is available at, a website that celebrates, supports, and brings transparency to every step of the homebuying journey for Columbus’ Black and minority communities. There, residents can also learn about CONVERGENCE Columbus’ free Homebuyer Readiness Program, an exclusive coaching experience for those ready to kick their home search into high gear.