Christen Goodknight says she always dreamed of being a homeowner.
At 30 years old, this Army National Guard veteran craved the space and freedom that comes with homeownership. “I wanted to have a place to call my own,” she said. “Growing up, we always had a house. We were lucky.”
Christen turned to the Portland Housing Bureau’s Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) program for more support through the process. MCC is a federal tax credit worth 20 percent of the mortgage interest paid annually during the life of the loan.
“The MCC program allows homebuyers to more comfortably afford a home by giving them an income tax credit. Sometimes the credit is used by lenders to help a buyer qualify who otherwise wouldn’t have,” said Dory Van Bockel, who administers the program at the Portland Housing Bureau. “The program works for a broad range of incomes and is available citywide; the more generous income cap and availability citywide makes it a good alternative to our down payment assistance program.”
Christen learned about the MCC Program when she took a homebuyer education class at Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA).
“The class helped me raise some good questions about what to look for,” she said. “And it’s saving me money in the long run.”
Christen took out a loan with a 3.375 percent interest rate. The MCC Program saves her roughly $80 a month on her mortgage right now.
Christen, who is Native American, says that homeownership fits into her cultural identity. “I like more space and I like to get my hands dirty in the yard.” Since moving into her Southeast Portland home in March, Christen has started a vegetable garden.
Dory hopes that more people from communities of color will utilize the MCC program to help close a homeownership gap.
“Home ownership is a powerful wealth and stability building tool. Rates of home ownership within the Native American community and other communities of color both in Portland and nationwide are much lower than for the overall population,” said Dory. “PHB is making an effort to better connect the resources we have available to the Native community through outreach efforts.”
To learn more about the MCC program, click here.