Addressing barriers to Black and Latino homeownership
with Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA)

The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) is a housing finance agency that works to stimulate the state’s economy and improve the quality of life for Wisconsin residents by providing affordable housing and business financing products.



Topic Areas

Community Development
Economic Inclusion

Project Types

Programs & Services

For many Black and Latino homebuyers in Wisconsin and across the country, the homeownership process comes with challenges and obstacles that are rooted in years of systemic inequity. These inequities stem from historical practices such as redlining and discriminatory practices, and have only been exacerbated by recent crises, including the 2008 recession and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recognizing that increasing homeownership among Black and Latino residents is a critical component of WHEDA’s mission, WHEDA partnered with Greater Good Studio to undertake a collaborative, human-centered initiative to develop solutions to these obstacles and increase homeownership among communities of color.

Project Outputs


A group of subject matter experts are developing a first mortgage product that uses a blend of automated and manual underwriting to offer a wider range of loan options for community members who might not otherwise qualify.

Two sheets of paper with text on them; headline says "Pilot 1: Alternatively-Funded First Mortgage Product."


We partnered with youth education practitioners to create a financial empowerment program pilot that shifts mindsets around home ownership, helps youth build relationships with housing and banking professionals, and uses experiential activities to gain tangible skills to draw from when they are ready to start the homeownership journey.

Series of 3 sketches showing people sitting around a table, a person writing on a worksheet, and a group sitting at a table smiling. Header text says "Concept #6: Action-Oriented Financial Literacy and Homeownership Training."


Our final report provides 12 research insights about the homeownership experience and a bank of over 20 strategies and concepts that can be referenced for further development in the future. View the report in English and Spanish.

Three-dimensional view of 3 sheets of paper, laying on a tan background, that have text and charts on them.

This is the best research project I’ve been a part of. This has been a great process. I feel like I’ve been able to authentically be myself and share what I know in a safe space.

Niesha Prospective Homeowner and Research Participant

Client & Community Outcomes


By the end of the project, WHEDA staff had arrived at a better understanding of the systemic barriers Black and Latino homebuyers face throughout all stages of the homeownership journey.


Leadership embraced the value of experimentation and open collaboration, sharing that this was a new way for their team to work that allowed them to be more nimble and innovative as they designed impactful concepts and approaches.


WHEDA is continuing to strengthen its commitment to innovative practices like human centered design across several key initiatives. They are also moving to embed community-driven engagement and research as core skill sets by providing enhanced training opportunities across the organization. 

It has been super interesting to learn about your process, and how we can use it. You’re very good at un-sticking us, when we’re stuck. That’s the biggest thing I’ve learned – how to take a step back, and un-stick yourself.

Sherry Gerondale Chief Financial Officer, WHEDA

Team & Studio Impact

The research for this project surfaced a lot of difficult stories, which were experienced differently across members of our team. One of the ways we supported each other through the work was to hold weekly team debrief sessions, where we would reflect on two questions: What am I celebrating this week? and What am I releasing? We would write down our thoughts, share them with each other, and just hold space for processing and affirmation. This ritual became an important part of the weekly rhythm, and it will likely continue to be part of our work going forward.