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Newest Tool for YNDC: Revitalize Home Mortgage - The Business Journal

The impact of home ownership on a community is hard to overstate. 

Kids who grow up in a house their parents own are more likely to stay in school until 17, score higher in math and reading and are twice as likely to enroll in college. A 2014 study found that homeowners are 2.5% more likely to have good health than renters, a number that jumps to 3.1% when adjusted for demographic, socioeconomic and housing characteristics. Being a homeowner increases one’s sense of control, reducing the risk of mental health issues. In areas with higher rates of homeownership, crime rates drop. A 2010 study found that between 2002 and 2007, a 1% increase in foreclosure rates resulted in an expected increase in burglaries of 10%. “There are studies that show how it affects educational achievement, work achievement, general family stability,” says Tiffany Sokol, chief lending officer for Revitalize Home Mortgage. “Because of that, it impacts so many other things in the lives of the people we serve,” she says. “Home-ownership is one of the most important things we do and it plays a key role in the revitalization of the neighborhoods.” Sokol also serves as housing director for Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp. In the 2015 American Community survey by the U.S. Census Bureau, 55.9% of houses in Youngstown were owner-occupied, with 44.1% occupied by renters. “It stabilizes the community,” says June Johnson, the Community Reinvestment Act compliance assistant coordinator for Home Savings Bank and a member of the YNDC board. “Renters don’t have the equity in the home. Homeowners are going to take care of that property. They’re going to keep up with payments. They’ll stay in a property for the long term.” Because of those figures, the community development corporation is launching Revitalize Home Mortgage, offering home loans to those who don’t meet traditional banks’ criteria. RHM is a separate organization from YNDC, Sokol notes. Revitalize Home Mortgage has roots in a program YNDC ran in 2012 to provide mortgages to first-time homebuyers. Supported by the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, Home Savings Bank, the Raymond John Wean Foundation and the city of Youngstown, the program provided 24 mortgages that year, Sokol says. To read the full story from The Business Journal, click here.