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SWMHP receives $60,000 grant

SLAYTON -- Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership has received a $60,000 grant from the Minnesota Department of Commerce's Real Estate Education, Research and Recovery Fund (RERF) to provide homebuyer education and financial counseling through its emerging markets program. The program is offered in partnership with Three Rivers Community Action in southeast Minnesota.

"The emerging markets homeownership initiative ... was a pilot that we were in about four years ago," said Ali Joens, SWMHP's director of home ownership services, adding that the program is geared specifically to "households of color" in 30 counties across southern Minnesota and north toward Willmar and the Twin Cities.

The $60,000 grant will be used to fund classes, a careers camp and some employee time to work directly with the emerging markets program.

"We do a Careers Camp, we do homebuyer education, mortgage counseling, foreclosure counseling and a maintenance class for people to learn how to change a furnace filter," Joens said. "A lot of the people we work with are ESL (English as a Second Language learners)."

Joens said the grant allows SWMHP to continue to provide the outreach. SWMHP was one of four recipients of the competitive state grants, which are geared to reduce the number of home foreclosures.

"It's very time intensive," she said of the work with minority populations. "It's very hard to get emerging markets into home ownership."

SWMHP, which has worked for more than 20 years to meet the needs of emerging households, provides a range of services, including pre- and post-purchase homebuyer education, refinance and mortgage support counseling, counseling on financial literacy in support of stable homeownership, and development and use of culturally competent homeowner education.

Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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