It’s no secret that affordable housing in Thurston County has been a challenge. South Puget Sound Habitat for Humanity has been working to make affordable housing possible in our area for decades, and now they have a new partner to help them meet their goals, Olympia Federal Savings (OlyFed). OlyFed has been a donor to South Puget Sound Habitat for Humanity for many years, supporting their mission of bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope in many different ways. Now OlyFed has committed support to them in a new and major way: by providing financing to Habitat clients directly.
Since South Puget Sound Habitat for Humanity began, qualified applicants would get their loan through the non-profit. With the new direct financing from OlyFed, Habitat clients have the opportunity to work directly with an established bank and build their credit while freeing up more of South Puget Sound Habitat for Humanity’s capital to build more homes, and OlyFed has an opportunity to support their neighbors in a truly meaningful way.
“The partnership with OlyFed has been absolutely spectacular!” exclaims Shawna Dutton, director of development for SPS Habitat for Humanity. “Not only are we giving our clients the confidence of working with a trusted financial institution like OlyFed, but we are also getting making more capital available faster so we can help more families.”
“For years, we’ve supported South Puget Sound Habitat for Humanity, providing sponsorship support for their events like the Women’s Build, significant charitable gifts to help with building and supply costs, and financing support to help with land purchase and the development for their Deyoe Vista neighborhood,” says Ryan Betz, vice president marketing and public relations manager with OlyFed. “Now, the newly expanded partnership with the direct financing project has been a win-win for everyone involved.”
Typically, South Puget Sound Habitat for Humanity helps potential homeowners who have lower incomes or have had some credit problems in the past. Since the partnership with OlyFed began, Habitat has also started a financial wellness and education coaching program that helps their clients have more financial wellness. Homeowners that finance through OlyFed’s and South Puget Sound Habitat for Humanity partnership program can rest easy knowing that they are also building or rebuilding their credit as they pay off the mortgage on their very own home.
On July 20, 2019 OlyFed and South Puget Sound Habitat for Humanity joined new homeowner Josh Michael at a home dedication ceremony at the doorstep to his new home. Friends, family and neighbors came together to celebrate the culmination of over a year of hard work including 500+ sweat equity hours to build Michael’s home and make it his own. Lori Drummond, CEO for OlyFed, proudly handed over the keys to the smiling new homeowner, making one more family’s dream a reality. Michael’s home is the first of many to be financed directly with OlyFed.
“We are so grateful to OlyFed,” says Dutton, “their support and knowledge has helped us in so many ways and they are the reason our Deyoe Vista neighborhood exists.” Deyoe Vista, a 33-home community, is one of the largest Habitat communities for single-family owner-occupied affordable housing in the state. South Puget Sound Habitat for Humanity has plans to complete the community by the end of 2021, and when it is finished it will include two children’s playground and a community garden. The community is about 64 percent complete, and currently, families are putting in sweat equity hours building more homes in the community.
Building a Community Up, One Home at a Time
In addition to their partnership with the South Puget Sound Habitat for Humanity, OlyFed has established a new Affordable Home Loan Program. The program provides reduced rates and fees for customers earning less than 80 percent of the median income in Thurston and Mason counties.
“We saw a real need to step in and help families who don’t quite qualify financially for Habitat’s program but still have a real financial need to make homeownership an affordable reality,” says Jennifer Arnold, vice president and residential lending manager with OlyFed.
Because OlyFed underwrites and does not sell its loans, customers don’t have to worry that their mortgage will be bundled up and sold to a big bank where they are just a number. Customers can rest easy knowing that banking with OlyFed is putting dollars to work right here at home, building homes, opening doors to homeownership, and being a part of the community.
“OlyFed’s Affordable Home Loan Program is great news,” says Dutton, “too often people at the lower end of the middle are overlooked, being stuck between those that don’t quite qualify for our services but also don’t fit with traditional lending options.” Dutton says she wants everyone to experience the stability, security and all the benefits that homeownership provides. “OlyFed has always been a leader in our community and the Affordable Home Loan program is just another example of their commitment to our community,” she adds.
If you would like to learn more about Olympia Federal Savings’ Affordable Home Loan Program, you can find more information on the OlyFed website, or just stop in to a local branch for a chat.