May 14, 2022

The Journey to Homeownership through Affordable Housing

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By: Nora Sovo

In today’s market, there is a housing shortage sweeping the nation and at the center of this crisis lies the dire need for affordable housing. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, there are 6.8 million affordable housing units needed for low-income families in the U.S. alone.

Many organizations across the country have established assistance programs in efforts to combat this issue, including the Comanche Nation Housing Authority (CNHA). CNHA with the direction and support of the Business Committee and our Board has founded various housing initiatives and assistance programs to better accommodate Tribal members and the general welfare of its community.

“As their servants, we are committed to our community to focus available resources and time into providing affordable and safe housing,” said Russell Sossamon, executive director of CNHA. “Whether members begin with renting or purchasing, our goal is to help them get on the right path to achieve and maintain affordable homeownership.”

Since its inception, the programs have assisted with providing more than 850 homes to Tribal members and has placed 31members within the past year. A number of our assistance programs are designed to help members obtain the necessary tools for successful homeownership, especially the lease-to-own program.

The lease-to-own program provides families the opportunity for homeownership to overcome the barriers of meeting standard credit score requirements or making a large lump sum down payment. This CNHA program lowers the cost of the home by deducting $50,000 from the final sale price, paying the taxes and insurance associated with the property and dropping the interest rate to zero.

“My journey to homeownership started with CNHA’s rental assistance program,” said Gwendolyn Pesewonit, member of the Comanche Nation and client of CNHA. “After I applied for the lease-to-own program, the CNHA team helped me prepare by providing me with a series of classes where I learned about finances and the homebuying process.”

CNHA offers every approved lease-to-own applicant a series of educational courses that cover a wide range of criteria, including financing, the homebuying process, homeowner expectations, maintaining homeownership and more. This ensures our clients are fully prepared to sustain their new home while setting them up for success.

“I will never forget the day I received the call that we found the perfect house for me,” said Pesewonit. “They went above and beyond to assist finding a beautiful and affordable home that not only accommodated my large family, but also my handicapped mother who needs accessible amenities throughout.”

While the priority is affordable housing, CNHA also strives to help families find a desirable home that meets their requirements while remaining within budget. The team works closely with each client throughout the entire process to ensure their needs are heard and taken into consideration.

“I could not have done this without CNHA,” said Pesewonit. “They treated me like part of the Tribal family that I am and took care of me every step of the way. They truly have Tribal members best interest at heart.”

CNHA is on track to place 10 more members this year. “Our focus remains on helping our Tribal members with more opportunities for affordable housing,” said Sossamon.

CNHA is consistently working to address the need for affordable housing within its community. It also offers various other programs, including the down payment and closing cost grant, elder home rehabilitation program, rental program, student housing program and CNHA home improvement emergency repair program (HIP).

For more information about CNHA’s programs and requirements, call 580-357-4956 or visit