Wells Fargo, Oweesta to Increase Homeownership Across Indian Country With $500,000 Program

Together, Wells Fargo and First Nations Oweesta Corporation aim to increase homeownership across Native communities. Wells Fargo has committed $500,000 to five Native Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). With Oweesta acting as the intermediary, the program offers $5,000 down payment assistance in those five markets.

“For a myriad of reasons and for generations, Native communities have historically had lower homeownership participation than other parts of the U.S., and this new opportunity will allow Native Americans to attain the true American dream,” Chrystel Cornelius, executive director of First Nations Oweesta Corporation, said in a press release. “This opportunity provided by Wells Fargo will have an incredible impact for generations within Indian Country as we see tribal members creating assets and building personal wealth in the form of homeownership.”

Funding will be directly issued to all organizations as equity grants, allowing each organization to provide direct grant funds up to $5,000 each to tribal members for down payment assistance capital through their respective tribal lending programs. Individuals interested in learning more about eligibility requirements and how to apply for a down payment assistance grant in one of the five communities can contact the respective Native CDFI.

The grant is among the first of Wells Fargo’s five-year, $50 million commitment to American Indian/Alaska Native communities to help address unique economic, social and environmental needs in Indian Country.

“Wells Fargo has been serving American Indian/Alaska Native governments and communities for more than 50 years and currently provides capital and financial services to more than 200 tribal entities in 27 states, including tribal community development projects,” said Martin Sundquist, executive director of the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation.

“This work will continue to help address challenges in partnership with American Indian/Alaska Native leaders, governments and native-led nonprofit organizations in ways that are intentional, relevant, impactful and inclusive,” Sundquist said.

The Native CDFIs receiving funding include: Cook Inlet Lending Center (Anchorage, Alaska), Four Directions Development Corporation (Orono, Maine), Mazaska Owecaso Otipi Financial (Pine Ridge, South Dakota), Native Community Finance (Laguna, New Mexico), and TIWA Lending Services (Isleta Pueblo, New Mexico).