New FHA Lending Rules Give Dreamers Path to the ‘American Dream’
Homeownership is once again within the reach of nearly 641,000 young adults across the country benefiting from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, thanks to a change implemented on January 19 at the Ministry of Housing and of Urban Development.
The Trump administration implemented a last-minute change to the Federal Housing Authority to reverse a lending practice that many say is discriminatory and has declared DACA recipients eligible for government-guaranteed mortgages designed to make affordable and accessible home ownership.
“It’s a blessing,” said Karina Ruiz, executive director of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition. Ruiz benefits from the DACA, a federal program created in 2012 which grants undocumented immigrants who arrived as children a temporary work permit and a stay of deportation. She has also been a licensed real estate agent since 2016.
In summer and fall 2018, FHA officials told lenders that DACA applicants did not qualify for government guaranteed mortgages. Several members of Congress, including Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., Said that “HUD has decided to exclude DACA recipients from FHA loans” and requested an investigation into the case.
In Arizona, nearly 24,000 people benefit from DACA, according to January data United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the federal agency that adjudicates immigration benefits.
Ruiz said she expects more Arizona residents with DACA to start looking to become homeowners. She said that after getting their work permit through DACA, many people are able to save money, build a credit history and qualify for government mortgages. a few years from now. Ruiz said many of those who have DACA protection go to great lengths to buy a home for their parents.
“It’s like the American dream,” she says. “The economy would pick up if there was immigration reform. Many immigrants would like to own property. “
Without the FHA loans, homeownership was virtually unattainable for Arizonans who have DACA, said Henry Wade, director of housing counseling services at Chicanos Por La Causa.
CPLC offers education and counseling programs for home buyers. Wade said opening up the opportunity for thousands of Arizona residents to buy a home is good for the whole community.
“Having the stability of a home increases so many variables, from access to capital (to) family stability (to) children (to) self-esteem. All of these things serve to improve the community, ”he said. “Having mechanisms in place for people to buy a home is essential and should be seen as essential in how we support each other in our country.”
While it’s too early to measure the impact of the HUD policy change, Wade said he expects more people interested in buying a home now that the FHA restriction has been lifted.