Back to top

Partnering on Homeownership

Partnering on Homeownership

MODULE 5: Partnering on Homeownership


Partnering on Homeownership

Partnering on Homeownership

Why should we consider working with partners to provide homeownership opportunities to tribal members?

There are many components of providing homeownership opportunities for tribal members and homeownership development. While it is important that the lead entity (a Tribally Designated Housing Entity [TDHE], a tribal department, or a nonprofit, for example) understand these different components, it is not necessary that one entity be an expert in each area, or carry out each component. One organization rarely has all of the capacity, experience, or staff to handle all of the pieces of the process. More often, one organization takes the lead, and then identifies partners to carry out certain parts of the framework.

We recognize that many TDHEs and housing departments have small staffs, and some TDHEs are one-person programs. Here again, it is vital to identify the partners that can manage different pieces of the homeownership puzzle.

In thinking about partnering, we can start by assessing where we are and what our strengths are:

  • What does our organization do well?

  • What does our staff enjoy doing?

  • What do we have the capacity to do effectively?

  • What should we build our capacity to do?

  • What do we have the resources to do?

Once we have a sense of our starting point, and what pieces our organization can focus on, the homeownership checklist shared earlier and again on the next page can help us identify potential partners:

  • Who is doing this work already in our community?

  • Who have we partnered with in the past?

  • Who are new potential partners to consider?

As we think about potential partners, it’s helpful to think about them on different levels – the tribal level, the local level, the regional level, the state level, and the national level.

Concentric circles showing Tribla, Local, Regional, State and National governments

Homeownership Checklist

Homeownership Checklist






  • Have you conducted a needs assessment recently?
  • Who can conduct a survey/ needs assessment?
  • Who are your potential homebuyers? (TDHE residents, veterans, young families, tribal employees)
  • How will you reach out to and recruit potential homebuyers?
  • Who can teach financial education and homebuyer education classes?
  • Which curriculum will be used?
  • Who can assist families in improving credit?
  • Who can conduct homebuyer counseling?
  • Where will you build?
  • Where do families want to live?
  • Are you thinking about a subdivision or scattered sites?
  • Are leases in place? Will families need to obtain leaseholds?
  • What infrastructure will be necessary? (septics, lagoon, water line, wells, roads)
  • What are your infrastructure costs?
  • What will your development budget include? (construction, roads, infrastructure)
  • Are you familiar with sources of development financing?
  • How is your repayment ability for development financing?
  • What needs to be in place to access development financing?





  • How will you determine what families can afford?
  • Who will work with families to complete loan applications?
  • What sources of mortgage financing will homebuyers access?
  • Do you have relationships with mortgage lenders?
  • How will you determine what/how much gap financing/subsidies families will need?
  • What sources of gap financing will homebuyers access?
  • How can you assist families who are credit-ready and income-qualified now?
  • What design features do families want?
  • Are you working with an architect?
  • Do you have construction plans, floor plans?
  • Who will do your building? (force account, contractors, other crew)
  • Do you have the capacity to carry out these different pieces?
  • Where are your gaps?
  • How can you build staff capacity?
  • Who can you partner with on some of these pieces?

Carousel Activity

 Through this activity, brainstorm partners for the different components of homeownership. Jot down your own existing and potential partners.

Partner Listing



Housing needs assessment

Homebuyer readiness programming

Planning, land use, and infrastructure

Development financing

What were the main obstacles to purchasing a home in the past?

Mortgage financing

Gap financing and subsides

Home design and construction

Partner Listing

Developing Effective Partnerships

Now that we have our listing of potential partners, let’s take a look at how we can ensure that our partnerships are effective.

Group Partnership Activity

What’s needed for effective partnerships?

  • Effective communication

  • Clear goals

  • Mutually-beneficial relationships

A Key Element of Partnering: Experience in and Understanding Native Communities

A Key Element of Partnering: Experience in and Understanding Native Communities

As we identify potential partners in our outer circles (on the local, regional, state, and national levels), it’s important to think about experience in Native communities. Do partners understand your community’s history, your issues, and challenges?

Why does it make sense to seek partners with experience in Native communities?

If your partners haven’t worked in Native communities, what are some steps you can take to help make your partnership successful?

Partnership illustration

Recognizing the Power Dynamics in Partnerships

Recognizing the Power Dynamics in Partnerships

As we look at partnerships, we want to recognize the power dynamics in these relationships and work to create an equilibrium.

balance illustration

Working in TDHEs and other nonprofit settings, we often feel like others have the resources that we need. We assume that they have the power in our relationship. But we also want to recognize the resources that we have, which they might need. We have strong staff, for example, solid projects, and clear community needs that we are working to address. Funders need strong projects to fund! This comes back to creating “mutually beneficial partnerships,” where each side “gives” something, and each side “gets” something from the partnership – partnerships won’t be successful if they are too one-sided.

This interactive workbook was developed to help individuals and leaders in native communities build their capacity to deliver homeownership opportunities to those they serve.
This workbook can be filled out online individually or as part of a group. How would you like to start?
It's just me
I'd like to lead a group

Workbook Signup Solo

Apply to be a group leader

We're happy to hear you want to use our workbook with your group. Please provide the following information and we'll get back to you shortly with instructions on creating your group and inviting your participants.

Welcome Back

When you first started using the workbook, we sent you a welcome email that included a link you can use to resume working on your workbook.

If you have that email, please click the link to pick up where you left off.

If you don't have that email, just enter your email address here and we'll send you another copy.