HomeFirst Team to Present at 2021 ITGA Conference

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By Diane Kennedy-Jackson
Publications Coordinator, Division of Community Affairs

Tuscaloosa, Ala. — The University of Alabama’s HomeFirst team has been invited to present at the International Town & Gown Association’s (ITGA) 2021 virtual conference, which will be hosted May 24–26 by Marquette University. The three-day conference will consist of 60 sessions on three tracks, which are focused on the theme “Innovating for Tomorrow, Together.”

HomeFirst is a financial wellness initiative that serves Greene, Hale and Tuscaloosa County individuals and families on their path toward first-time homeownership or foreclosure prevention. The initiative is powered by UA’s Center for Community-Based Partnerships (CCBP), whose mission is to connect faculty, staff, students and community partners in research-based projects designed to solve critical problems identified collaboratively by community members and the University.

Presenting will be Dr. Nicole Prewitt, director of Programs and Partnerships for Community Engagement at CCBP and an ITGA Board member; CCBP Program Coordinator Susan Kasteler; Kevin Giff, community development manager for Habitat for Humanity of Orange County, N.C.; and Lydia Stanley, CCBP graduate research assistant.

Their presentation is titled, “Can Service-Learning Programs at Anchor Institutions Contribute to Increasing Homebuyer Readiness through Financial Capability?” The team will introduce conference attendees to the HomeFirst program and the importance of homeownership as the primary wealth-building tool for American families. Additionally, they will discuss the anchor institution concept and the role of higher education as anchor institutions in their communities, program results, learning outcomes, sustainable replication and more. Their presentation is scheduled to begin at noon on Tuesday, May 25.

“In a relatively short time, the HomeFirst initiative has had a tremendous impact on program participants, as well as on the student coaches who work with them,” said Dr. Samory T. Pruitt, vice president for Community Affairs. “This initiative speaks directly to the Division’s values, which include improving the quality of life in communities. HomeFirst is accomplishing this one cohort at a time.”

ITGA members from across the United States, England and Canada will participate in the conference. For a complete listing of sessions, abstracts and speakers, visit https://www.itga.org/Conference/2021.

About CCBP: CCBP is an initiative of UA’s Division of Community Affairs. Its initiatives support the University’s teaching, research and service mission and it serves as one of the campus’ main engines in the support of the University’s efforts to be an engaged institution. As defined by the Kellogg Commission: An engaged institution is responsive to the needs of today’s students and tomorrow’s. It enriches the student experience by bringing research into the curriculum and offering practical experience in the world they will enter. It forms partnerships of faculty, students and communities to put knowledge and skills to work on today’s most critical problems. — From Returning to Our Roots: The Engaged Institution, Kellogg Commission Report, 1999). Learn more at http://ccbp.ua.edu

 About ITGA: The International Town & Gown Association (ITGA), based at Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina, is the premier resource for addressing challenges, emerging issues and opportunities between and among institutions of higher education and the communities in which they reside. Founded in 2008, ITGA has a membership that includes colleges and universities, municipalities, businesses and strategic partners. Learn more at itga.org.