For years, the affordable homeownership community lacked a set of standards to help guide their work to improve quality and outcomes. That’s why, in 2010, we joined forces with several national organizations to explore the possibility of creating a set of voluntary national standards to guide affordable homeownership programs. Nearly 100 housing professionals gathered over a series of three day-long workshops to discuss how to better implement affordable homeownership programs so that homes are made affordable and stay that way. These workshops were designed and facilitated by Innovation Labs and held in:

These gatherings resulted in the development of the six Stewardship Principles, a set of high-level guidelines for implementing effective affordable homeownership programs:

  1. Impact Driven: Set and Track Goals that Reflect Community Priorities
    Affordable homeownership programs should reflect a thoughtful and informed balance of community priorities grounded in a careful analysis of objective data on market conditions and needs.
  2. Targeted: Focus on Buyers Who Need Help but are Likely to Succeed
    Scarce public resources for affordable homeownership should be targeted toward households that need it and would be unable to afford ownership without support but are in a strong position to succeed in ownership over time.
  3. Balanced: Build Wealth for Owners While Preserving the Community Interest
    Every program should attempt to maximize the impact of public funding by balancing the interests of individual homeowners and the broader community.
  4. Managed: Steward the Public Investment to Ensure Long Term Benefit
    Public investment in affordable homeownership should be actively and professionally managed for maximum community benefit over the long-term.
  5. Safe: Ensure Sound Mortgage Financing
    Every program should ensure that private mortgage financing is safe, appropriate and consistent with the goals of the program. In addition to helping buyers make informed decisions, the program should protect the public interest by preventing predatory loan products and avoiding foreclosures whenever possible.
  6. Understandable: Educate Buyers on Program Requirements
    Every program should provide written materials and training to help buyers understand program requirements and should actively verify homeowners’ understanding prior to sale.