Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) today announced a $1.5 million contribution by the Wells Fargo Foundation in support of the Funders for Housing and Opportunity (FHO) collaborative focused on advancing housing affordability solutions and relief for renter households and homeless people disproportionately affected by the economic downturn as a result of COVID-19.
FHO is a national funder collaborative working to better the life outcomes of the 11.7 million renter households in the U.S. who spend more than half of their income on housing or who are homeless. As the first financial services related organization to join the FHO collaborative, the Wells Fargo Foundation has a strategic focus on addressing housing affordability, small business growth, and financial health and includes a $1 billion philanthropic commitment to address housing affordability solutions by 2025.
“Having a safe and affordable place to call home is essential to help lay the foundation for wellness, dignity, and economic opportunity,” said Eileen Fitzgerald, head of housing affordability philanthropy with the Wells Fargo Foundation. “The economic fallout caused by COVID-19 has disproportionally affected Black, Hispanic, Asian, Native America and Alaska Native communities, adding to a long history of systemic inequality, loss of wealth, and housing instability particularly during times of economic distress. That’s a problem that must change.”
More than one in every four U.S. households pay more than half of their income on rent or don’t have a home at all, and Black and Hispanic households are vastly overrepresented among these severely cost-burdened renters, according to FHO. COVID-19 has only exacerbated this divide. FHO and the prominent foundations that are its members work to fortify housing as an essential part of efforts to improve lives of the most vulnerable people.
“Funders for Housing and Opportunity welcomes the Wells Fargo Foundation as its first financial services-related member and applauds its generous philanthropic support and commitments to address the critical need for more housing affordability solutions for our nation’s most vulnerable people,” said Jeanne Fekade-Sellassie, project director for Funders for Housing and Opportunity. “Housing is the foundation on which our lives are built, and FHO is committed to creating a nation in which all renters, regardless of income or race, can afford a home in a vibrant, thriving community which unlocks access to better health, educational achievement, and economic mobility.”
As part of its $175 million response to COVID-19 to assist vulnerable people disproportionately affected by the economic downturn, the Wells Fargo Foundation awarded grants to national nonprofit housing intermediaries, that will keep more than 100,000 homeowners and renters housed, as well as more than 1,100 grants to local community-based nonprofits. Its efforts to address the housing affordability crisis include expanding the capacity of housing counselors to respond to renters and homeowners, supporting nonprofits that provide affordable rental homes and services, and providing support for legal assistance organizations to represent renters at risk of eviction. In 2019, Wells Fargo donated more than $455 million in grants to nonprofits organizations across the U.S. to increase access to housing, jobs, and financial health.
In its business, Wells Fargo has helped more than 2.7 million consumer and small business customers by deferring payments and waiving fees as of the end of the second quarter of 2020. This includes more than 2.5 million payments deferred, representing more than $5 billion in principal and interest, including $3.2 billion in mortgage loans serviced for others. It also reflects approximately 6 million fee waivers, exceeding $200 million.
About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.97 trillion in assets. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, investment and mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance, through 7,300 locations, more than 13,000 ATMs, the internet (wellsfargo.com) and mobile banking, and has offices in 31 countries and territories to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 266,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 30 on Fortune’s 2020 rankings of America’s largest corporations. News, insights and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories.
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