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Pathways to Homeownership: A Showcase of Strategies to Open Doors

June 9, 2022 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm EDT

In celebration of National Homeownership Month, the National Housing Conference and NeighborWorks America spotlighted practitioners working on the ground to assist low- and moderate-income households achieve sustainable homeownership. This webinar featured an opening fireside chat with David Dworkin, president and CEO of NHC, and Marietta Rodriguez, president and CEO of NeighborWorks America, about the current state of homeownership and the circumstances challenging aspiring homeowners in today’s volatile market.This webinar showcased innovative programs that tackle specific barriers to homeownership, including wealth building initiatives for minority homebuyers, down payment assistance programs, affordable for-sale home development, and the role of culturally specific training for housing professionals. This survey of successful programs offered concrete examples of local efforts to make ownership a reality, particularly for populations who face substantial barriers to purchasing a home, and provided guidance for creating programs tailored to the needs of communities.


Erin Dey is Director of Real Estate Development & Asset Management at DevNW. Erin has a Masters of Real Estate with a focus in Finance and Development from Georgetown University and a Bachelors of Economics and Psychology from Mount Holyoke College. Additionally, Erin has an advanced degree in social work and is a licensed clinical social worker in the state of Oregon. Erin has over a decade of experience in real estate development and finance, including property acquisition and disposition; commercial and residential redevelopment; and new construction of affordable as well as market rate housing.

View Erin’s slides here.

Kurt Nishimura is a real estate consultant for over 10 years focusing on acquiring, developing, and asset managing commercial real estate. He previously worked for the Pivotal Group serving as Vice President of Acquisitions. While at Pivotal, Nishimura asset managed the St. Regis Los Angeles and the Westin Century Plaza. He oversaw the repositioning of a weight loss clinic in St. George, Utah, a property that was rebranded to Red Mountain Spa, recognized as a Top Destination Spa by Conde Nast Traveler Magazine in 2007. Nishimura is the Founder of the local chapter of Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) Greater Phoenix and served as President in 2014, 2015 and 2019. He also served on the National Board of AREAA as the National Commercial Chair in 2018 and 2019.  He served as Treasurer for AREAA Global in 2018/2019 and currently serves as Development co-chair in 2020.  He will serve as National President of AREAA in 2023.

Julia Nelmark leads Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corporation (MMCDC), a mission-based lender and developer headquartered in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, as well as the White Earth Investment Initiative (WEII), a Native CDFI subsidiary serving Native Americans throughout Minnesota. MMCDC provides commercial and mortgage lending, housing development and management, and through WEII lending and development services (free tax preparation, financial education and counseling) focused on Indian reservations in Minnesota. MMCDC is the majority owner of a bank headquartered on the White Earth reservation. Prior to becoming president in 2018, Ms. Nelmark served as the Director of New Markets Tax Credit Financing for a number of years.

View Julia’s slides here.

Jacqueline Butts is the Founder of Sum Clarity, LLC. Over the course of her career, she has worked to make the tools of money management more accessible and applicable for everyday use for her clients and community. She has worked with New York Life Insurance company as a Financial Representative, a branch manager for US Bank and Key Bank and most recently as the Homeownership Program Director for the Portland Housing Center. She has been able to serve her community by not only offering appropriate financial products and services, but also teaching financial principles and money management skill sets to help them take ownership of their finances. In her current role she continues to demystify money management for the black community as she works to make available nationwide “Getting Your House in Order” a culturally specific financial education course for Black Americans. This course has shown through its impact study, to have a positive and sustainable change in behavior and attitude about money and money management for its participants.

View Jacqueline’s slides here.

Rick Guzman is the Executive Director of The Neighbor Project, a grass-roots housing and community development organization formed through the 2018 merger of two non-profits based in Aurora, Illinois. Since the merger, The Neighbor Project has roughly tripled its staff and programmatic reach through new, collaborative programs such as the co-launch of Illinois’ first-ever “Financial Empowerment Center” in partnership with the City of Aurora. Guzman has worked on community development issues in the Illinois Governor’s Office and as Deputy Chief of Staff to two previous Mayors of Aurora. Guzman also serves on the boards of several Aurora area and regional non-profits—and as an elected trustee of Waubonsee Community College.

View Rick’s slides here.


June 9, 2022
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
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