The University of Texas-Pan American was recognized recently by the Fannie Mae Foundation for its work with colonias.
In "Building Partnerships for Neighborhood Change: Promising Practices of the University-Community Partnership Initiative," UTPA is honored for best practices in expanding homeownership resources through a comprehensive counseling program for colonias residents, those living in the impoverished rural communities along the Texas-Mexico border.
Four years ago, the Foundation launched the University-Community Partnership Initiative (UCPI) to promote the development of successful partnerships between universities and community organizations to expand affordable housing opportunities and revitalize distressed communities.
As a UCPI participant, UTPA received a $500,000 grant over four years to support "Project HOPE," an effort that includes new construction and rehabilitation of affordable housing, homeownership training and individual counseling, community outreach programs to increase awareness of housing programs, and technical assistance and training for nonprofit housing organizations in Hidalgo County.
The program has implemented an expansive training curriculum that is bilingual, includes home maintenance components and is marketed through broad outreach campaigns. To date, it has provided training for 117 families.
"Embarking on innovative partnerships to create more affordable housing and healthier communities is the crux of the Fannie Mae Foundation's mission," said Stacey H. Davis, president and CEO of the Fannie Mae Foundation.
"Bringing together the resources of universities like The University of Texas-Pan American and the know-how of local organizations through the University-Community Partnership Initiative has made a positive impact on the border region."
Promising Practices looks at success stories from UCPI's communities across the country and provides a cross-site analysis that highlights common themes and issues that arose in multiple partnerships.
The Fannie Mae Foundation creates affordable homeownership and housing opportunities through innovative partnerships and initiatives that build healthy, vibrant communities across the United States. For more information, log on to www.fanniemaefoundation.org