M&T Bank Sponsors HomeOwnership Center

RUPCO accepts M&T Bank sponsorship check of $10,000

Tara Dickett, Kevin O’Connor, Alex Hajek, Catherine A. Maloney, The Big Check, Eric Dahl, Kathy Germain, Sandy Altomare meet at Savonnah’s, Kingston.

RUPCO and M&T Bank share a vision for first-time homebuyers in the Hudson Valley, one that’s spanned several years and scores of first-time homebuyers. Last week, M&T Bank representatives Tara Dickett, Alex Hajek and Eric Dahl presented a $10,000 Girder Sponsorship check to RUPCO Board Chair Catherine Maloney, CEO Kevin O’Connor, Kathy Germain and Sandy Altomare from the RUPCO’s NeighborWorks America HomeOwnership Center.

M&T Bank — a consistent supporter of RUPCO’s NeighborWork’s America Homeownership Center located at 301 Fair Street, Kingston — believes its investment in local homebuyer education and savings programs works. “Homeownership is important. Like so much in life, our impact is greater when we work together. Thank you RUPCO for all that you do,” noted Eric Dahl, Vice President and Regional CRA Officer in MTB’s Community Reinvestment Program.

As of December 1, 2016, RUPCO’s HomeOwnership Center brought 81 first-time homebuyers across the finish line in Ulster County. The demographic make-up of that homebuyer group included 12 African-American (15%), 3 Hispanic and 13 single head of household families (16%).

The homebuying process, from orientation to house closing, can take up to two years. In 2015, 75 first-time homebuyers came through the education process to owning a home, up from 55 the year prior. “RUPCO’s Homeownership Center has helped hundreds of first-time buyers achieve the dream of homeownership,” adds Kathy Germain, RUPCO’s Vice President of Housing Services. “We all know that purchasing a home is one of our biggest, personal financial investments. At RUPCO, we work with local lenders like M&T Bank, who provide great fixed-rate, affordable mortgage products and the First Home Club match-savings program (FHC) to help families transition into homeownership with an affordable payment.” Often, a first-time homebuyer pays a mortgage payment, including other housing costs, that costs less than what the family is currently paying for rent.  Generally, families of 1-2 people can earn up to $60,160 to qualify for FHC. Mortgage payments are factored at an affordable rate or 30-42% of  a family’s gross monthly income, leaving greater disposable income for other necessities like food, clothing, and transportation.

As a mortgage lender, M&T Bank participates in the Federal Home Loan Bank’s First Home Club where first-time homebuyers open a match-savings program to facilitate savings toward a first home purchase. For every $1 a person saves, the bank matches $4, over a minimum of 10 months. A future homeowner can earn a combined grant of $7500 towards closing and down payment costs. Along with income eligibility requirements, future homebuyers must take six hours of homebuyer education and secure a mortgage through the lending bank. M&T Bank averages over 800 First Home Club participants a year, the highest enrollment in New York State. In 2015, RUPCO facilitated $336,000 in First Home Club grants.

Last year, RUPCO’s Homeownership Center introduced 81 homebuyers to their American Dream which generated over $10-million in mortgage lending through local banks. The average mortgage cost $140,880 with an average first-home purchase price of $155,251.

HomeOwnership Center sponsorship supports homebuyer marketing and outreach, orientation and homebuyer education classes. Accepting the M&T Bank sponsorship check was RUPCO Board Chair Catherine A. Maloney. “The partnership between M&T Bank and RUPCO is strong and vital. Together, we’re helping people achieve the dream of homeownership.”

New homebuyers invited to orientation workshop

Homebuyer education classesHomeownership is a fundamental facet of the American dream. Yet, many people feel that homeownership is unattainable to them, in part because they lack the necessary tools to navigate the process of becoming a homeowner. At RUPCO, we think homeownership can be a reality. Eighty-one families became homeowners in 2016 thanks to RUPCO’s homebuyer education program.

RUPCO provides first-time homebuyer education starting with a free homebuyer orientation workshop. This workshop allows future homebuyers to learn about grants, tools, savings programs and the overall benefits of homeownership.

Ultimately, these workshops answer the essential question that many people who aspire to homeownership ask themselves: “Is homeownership right for me?”

RUPCO’s next homeowner orientation workshops are scheduled for: Wednesday, February 22nd, Monday, March 6th, and Wednesday, March 22nd. They are held twice a month at The Kirkland building, located at 2 Main Street, Kingston, from 6-7pm.

Those interested in attending a free homebuyer orientation session can enroll via our website,  watch an online video orientation series, or call RUPCO’s NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Center (845) 331-9860 to sign up for an orientation class.

Housing Services VP Accepted to Harvard Leadership Intensive

KKathy Germain, Vice President, Housing Services, RUPCOingston resident Kathy Germain was accepted to the Achieving Excellence Program (AE) at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA. German, Vice President of Housing Services at RUPCO, is attending the 18-month leadership training as part of RUPCO’s affiliation with NeighborWorks® America. RUPCO is the Hudson Valley’s premier developer and operator of affordable housing and a chartered member of NeighborWorks® America (NWA). NWA is a national network of community developers and affordable housing nonprofits based in Washington, D.C.

“As the Achieving Excellence Program enters its 8th round, we’re honored to have Kathy represent the RUPCO family,” notes Kevin O’Connor, Chief Executive Officer at RUPCO, himself a graduate of the AE in 2009. “Kathy was selected from a highly competitive candidate pool; only 50 people attend this prestigious training every two years. A team player at RUPCO for nearly a decade, Kathy continues to bring her best skills to work for us. With a focus on building leadership skills and identifying a top performance challenge, Kathy’s participation in AE will lead to significantly greater impact in housing services by RUPCO here in the Hudson Valley.”

Germain is one of 50 enrolled in the NWA-Harvard program centered on leadership skills, critical thinking, project administration, and community development. “I’m looking forward to bringing back knowledge that will help us grow our communities in smart, effective ways with housing and supportive services at their core,” adds Germain. “I just received my first homework assignment! With a coach, I’ll join a team of 10-12 participants and take part in a 3-week on-campus experience. This is a wonderful opportunity for me personally, but professionally, with this training and education, I feel we can really make a difference helping people find a place to call Home in the Hudson Valley.”

While vice president at RUPCO, Germain has overseen its HomeOwnership Center (HoC), which helped 75 first-time homebuyers achieve their dreams of homeownership last year. “This year, we’ve already guided 66 households through the homebuying cycle, thanks to 11 dedicated HoC staff members. We’re looking to break out record of 75 by October 31,” adds Germain. RUPCO’s HoC also provides free foreclosure counseling services, homeownership preservation strategy, accessibility modifications for seniors, financial counseling, homebuyer education, and access to state and federal mortgages and grant programs.