WHC’s Partnership with Esusu: Helping Our Residents Secure the Building Blocks of Financial Success
As anyone with a credit card or car loan can tell you, credit history and credit scores play an oversized role in determining many factors of the average American’s life. From paying for higher education, securing a mortgage, or starting a business, having a low credit score can keep you from achieving many parts of the “American Dream”.
“More than 45 million Americans are deemed “credit invisible”, meaning one in every ten adults has no credit history with one of the three credit reporting agencies.” Particularly in the housing space, credit scores can create a vicious cycle and an almost insurmountable barrier to economic mobility and prosperity. Without stable housing, people often can’t establish credit. They might wind up with unfavorable credit scores – and that, in turn, makes it harder to rent (or buy) a home.
In an effort to break the cycle and make housing work for those residents trying to establish and build a credit score, last year the Washington Housing Conservancy (WHC) partnered with Esusu, the leading financial technology platform leveraging data to empower renters and improve property performance. This rent reporting program reports on-time rental payments to the three credit reporting agencies. paying a loan/debt on-time and increases credit score accordingly. success. In just five short years since its founding, Esusu has empowered millions of renters to improve their credit scores by reporting on-time rent payments to major credit bureaus.
The results since we launched the Esusu program in January 2022 tell an exciting story. More than 300 residents across our portfolio established credit for the first time with on-time rental payments. Among the residents who enrolled in the program, around 70% have improved their credit scores across our portfolio.
Like savings, improved credit scores can open doors. Credit scores can be a factor used to evaluate prospective renters. Future landlords might request a higher deposit if a renter has a low credit score. And those with higher scores can find housing in higher opportunity neighborhoods or make it possible to obtain a mortgage at a competitive interest rate.
Furthermore, there are other signs of strengthened financial health in WHC communities. Due to WHC’s affordability covenants and rent stabilization across income levels, many residents have been able to increase their savings to invest in the future or cover an unforeseen expense. At Crystal House, where we began the program, more than half of the residents increased their savings and 62% have reduced their debt. At Crystal House in Arlington, VA, those making $50,000 or less save an average of $14,000 each year in rent for a 2-bedroom apartment, while at the Loree Grand in DC’s Ward 6, residents making $80K or less are saving an average of $450 per month on rent.
Finally, for some of our residents, the financial security they’ve been able to grow in a WHC community might mean leaving one of our properties and moving on to homeownership. Across our portfolio, we know of 10 households that have moved out after buying their first home.
Stable housing puts people on a path toward financial security. Predictable and fixed monthly housing expenses let people devote some of their incomes to savings and other wealth-building efforts. Housing that is affordable is the foundation for financial wellbeing. The Washington Housing Conservancy provides residents with quality apartments and community in areas of the DC region with access to high performing schools, employment centers and transportation. With stabilized rents and partnerships with companies like Esusu, they can build an even brighter future.
Preserving housing affordability and promoting economic mobility in the DC-region
The Washington Housing Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Your investment helps us expand our work. Your gift is 100% tax-deductible. EIN 83-1866109
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