January 2015 - In This Issue:
Kingwood Veteran Receives Donated Home



On Tuesday, December 16, 2014, former Private First Class Arthur Thomas, a disabled military veteran, and his wife Charlene received a mortgage-free home in the Kingwood neighborhood of Houston. During his six years of service, Mr. Thomas completed two tours of duty, both in South Korea.  He contracted a service-related illness while in South Korea, which has since worsened.  After his discharge he suffered a severe injury that prevented him from being able to work.  Mrs. Thomas is also a veteran of the U.S. Army, where she served honorably for two years and completed a tour of duty in Germany.   


Bank of America generously donated the home, in partnership with the National Community Stabilization Trust. TSAHC partnered with Houston area nonprofit WOMAN, Inc. to perform the necessary repairs on the home and connect the Thomas family to the program.   


Know any veterans in need of affordable housing? 


Mr. and Mrs. Thomas received their home through TSAHC's Affordable Communities of Texas-Veterans Housing Initiative (ACT-VET). TSAHC's ACT-VET program is part of a nationwide, multi-partner initiative whose purpose is to rehabilitate vacant homes to provide affordable homeownership opportunities to disabled veterans.  


TSAHC maintains a list of ACT-VET properties that are available at a discounted rate of 25% off the listing price to disabled and/or low-to-moderate income veterans. Veterans who are low-to-moderate income and are fully disabled may be eligible to receive the home as a donation. TSAHC encourages local veterans services providers, Realtors�, and housing partners to advertise these properties to veterans who may qualify.  


Learn more about the ACT-VET Program  

TSAHC Takes Homeownership Programs
Workshops on the Road


TSAHC representatives conducted a series of statewide homeownership programs workshops throughout the state in January. TSAHC would like to thank Essent Guaranty Inc., Affordable Homes of South Texas, Inc., the Greater McAllen Association of Realtors�, the San Antonio Board of Realtors�, Avenue Community Development Corporation, and Dallas County Health and Human Services for partnering with TSAHC to host the series of workshops in McAllen, San Antonio, Houston and Dallas.   


The interactive workshops are designed specifically to help participants assist clients with TSAHC's home buyer programs and learn what the latest program changes and benefits mean for clients while networking with lenders, Realtors�, and housing counselors. The workshops provide attendees with an overview of the programs followed by a more detailed discussion on qualifying a buyer for assistance.   


TSAHC will conduct a final workshop program in Austin on Friday, February 13, 2015 that is sponsored by Essent Guaranty Inc. and the Austin Board of Realtors�. To register for that workshop, click here.  


2015 Texas Statewide Homebuyer
Education Program Dates


Housing and financial counselors, mark your calenders! The dates for the 2015 Texas Statewide Homebuyer Education Program (TSHEP) schedule have been announced.

February 9th-13th in Austin 

HO229: Homebuyer Education Methods: Training the Trainer - 5 days

TSAHC would like to thank Bank of America for sponsoring this training program.


June 1st-3rd in San Antonio

HO370: Advanced Financial Coaching-Taking Your Practice to the Next Level - 3 days


October 12th-16th in Houston

HO247: Post-Purchase Education Methods - 5 days


TSAHC has partnered with NeighborWorks America to provide these courses. For more information about the courses offered and the different certifications provided by NeighborWorks, including requirements to obtain or maintain a certification and the application form for each, click here.




Feel free to contact Sarah Ellinor at [email protected] or (512) 220-1171.  

Rio Grande Valley Partnership Chamber of Commerce Presents $20,000 Check to TSAHC




In December, the Rio Grande Valley Partnership Chamber of Commerce presented a check to TSAHC for $20,000 to support the Texas Foundations Fund 2015 funding cycle. The Partnership raised the funds at its 27th Annual Golf Tournament in October 2014 and presented the check during its Annual Holiday Mixer. As with all donations to the Texas Foundations Fund, the $20,000 contribution will be matched by TSAHC Board of Directors and will be used to assist the housing needs of families in the Rio Grande Valley.  


TSAHC is very grateful for the Rio Grande Valley Partnership Chamber of Commerce's contribution and TSAHC Advisory Council Member and Rio Grande Valley Partnership President/CEO Julian Alvarez for their support of the Texas Foundations Fund. The program  gives awards to non-profit organizations and rural government entities to fund housing services that provide stability to very low-income families. Since 2008, TSAHC has awarded nearly $1.9 million to support these services.  

TSAHC encourages non-profit organizations and rural government entities who provide critical housing repairs and supportive services to very low-income Texans to apply for a Texas Foundations Fund 2015 award. TSAHC begins accepting applications in April 2015. 


The below piece is an excerpt from On The House, a weekly blog TSAHC launched in 2014 on affordable housing topics. We invite you to drop by On The House every Friday as we share information on important housing issues, provide an inside look into our programs, and share other valuable resources. Click here to sign up to receive the blog every Friday.  

Entry Level Buyers May See More
Housing Options In 2015

Last year was a frustrating year for many entry-level home buyers hoping to purchase a home in Texas. Why was the Texas housing market unkind to entry-level buyers in 2014?  


A recent study released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas offers an explanation.

As housing demand increased over the past few years, the availability of moderately-priced homes began to dry up.  For example, the number of existing homes priced under $200,000 has decreased dramatically in the past four years, from almost 70% of the market in 2010 to 56% of the market in 2014. Homes that were once priced under $200,000 are now priced much higher, squeezing many entry-level buyers out of the market.  Citing data from the Texas A&M Real Estate Center, the Dallas Fed argues this phenomenon particularly affected buyers in the Austin, Dallas and Houston markets.


Additionally, developers have been slow to build entry-level housing, instead focusing on more expensive homes. This is for two reasons: 1) entry-level home buyers have had more difficulty qualifying for mortgages, and 2) it is easier to recoup building costs with a more expensive product.


Although 2014 was a tough market for entry-level buyers, there is hope on the horizon. Effective Dec. 1, 2014, new guidelines from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have eased lending standards to help more low and moderate-income buyers qualify for mortgages. As a result of the additional demand created by these entry-level buyers, the Dallas Fed predicts that overall housing demand will increase in 2015, which should motivate builders to resume building moderately-priced homes.


As housing options increase for first-time and other entry-level buyers, home buyer assistance programs like TSAHC's become even more important to ensure these buyers can achieve their dreams of homeownership.