Piece by Piece Update
September 23, 2011
Georgia has moved up to the number four spot nationally for foreclosure filings according to RealtyTrac data for August 2011, as reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
This unfortunate news underscores the critical need for our ongoing collaboration and action through Piece by Piece. We hope you find the following updates, news and calendar items helpful and informative. This has been a busy week for Piece by Piece. A working group of the housing counseling sector met yesterday, and the local governments convened at ARC for their monthly meeting. They will convene again in early October for a WebEx session focused on code enforcement strategies.
Please take note of the opportunities for action below. Our voices are important as Congress makes important funding decisions that impact housing policy.
President Obama Unveils the American Jobs Act; Proposal Includes Additional Funding to Address Foreclosures
On Thursday September 8, the President delivered an address to a Joint Session of Congress to unveil the American Jobs Act - a $447 billion plan to put people back to work. The plan includes the following housing-related objectives:
1) Project Rebuild ($15 billion); Building upon the success of NSP, Project Rebuild will:
·Stabilize communities by allowing grantees to rebuild and repurpose distressed commercial in addition to residential properties.
·Promote public-private collaborations among local governments, nonprofits and private actors by allowing funding to be awarded to for-profit entities, drawing on those organizations' expertise and leveraging capital.
·Help communities redevelop distressed properties as part of a long-term redevelopment strategy through the promotion of Land Banking.
·Create jobs by enabling grantees to establish property management programs targeted at avoiding blight due to vacant and abandoned properties.
2)Reducing Barriers to the Administration's Home Affordable Refinance (HARP) Program
In order to better provide financial relief for families, the American Jobs Act will remove barriers to the HARP Program - an Obama Administration initiative designed to allow homeowners to take advantage of the currently low interest rates when refinancing their mortgages, even if their current mortgage is greater than the value of their home. The President will instruct his economic team to work with the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, major lenders, and other industry leaders to identify and remove current barriers to the HARP program. The goal of this provision is to keep borrowers in their homes while also reducing risk to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
While no specific proposals have been outlined to allow more families to access the HARP program, news agencies have reported on potential changes, including removing the eligibility date, eliminating the 125% loan to-value cap, waiving risk-based fees; streamlining the application process, indemnifying lenders against potential buy-back requirements from the GSEs, and addressing second mortgages and mortgage insurance. Since these changes to HARP do not require Congressional approval, the White House will work with the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) in the coming months to determine exactly which changes are adopted. MORE
BLOG Watch: Strong Housing Policy Prevents Foreclosures
The National Housing Conference (NHC), a PBP partner, reported in its Open House Blog how strong housing policies address some of foreclosure's root causes - unaffordable housing, lack of employment opportunities, and high combined household expenses. Even rental affordability policies and zoning policies that allow a diversity of housing types help with foreclosure prevention. MORE
TAKE ACTION: Protect the Front-Lines of Defense V.S. Foreclosure; Tell Congress to Restore Funding for Housing Counselors in FY12 Budget
Housing counselors are absolutely essential to helping families avoid foreclosure and keep their homes. As you will recall, HUD cut funding for housing counseling agencies from its FY2011 budget. At the PBP mid-year update, Secretary Shaun Donovan encouraged us to speak up and share our concerns about cuts to housing counseling funding. You can take action today to restore funding for housing counseling agencies in the FY 2012 budget by signing the petition being circulated by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) (and/or sending a letter to your legislator). Detailed instructions can be found HERE
Georgia Tech's Immergluck Publishes Two New Articles on Foreclosure and Federal Government's Role in Mortgage Markets
Georgia Tech Professor Dan Immergluck has recently published two articles:
(1) examining the the federal government's role in foreclosure response including both loan modification programs and the Neighborhood Stabilization program. MORE
(2) making the argument that a reduced federal role in mortgage markets is likely to lead to lower homeownership rates and less stable homeownership. In the absence of massive increases in federal subsidies for rental housing, this is likely to lead to negative outcomes for many moderate-income households and neighborhoods, especially in markets where the detached, single-family home is the dominant form of housing. MORE
DeKalb Foreclosure Registry in the News
New registry requiring creditors to register foreclosed properties in DeKalb County has brought in more than $557,000 in the last 10 months, according to the AJC. For information on the DeKalb Foreclosure Registry, contact Tonza Clark at email@example.com. MORE
Fulton County Foreclosure Prevention Fair Tomorrow
Saturday, September 24
The Fulton County Department of Housing and Human Services Office of Housing and Community Development will host a free Foreclosure Prevention Fair to help residents in danger of losing their homes because they can no longer afford their mortgages. The event will be held on Saturday, September 24, at Westlake High School from 9:00 a.m. until 4 p.m. Westlake High School is located at 2400 Union Road SW, Atlanta, GA 30331. MORE.
3rd Annual Neighborhood Summit TomorrowSaturday, September 24
The Civic League for Regional Atlanta's annual Neighborhood Summit will include a workshop aimed at giving neighborhood residents the information needed to help manage the impact of foreclosures on their neighborhoods.
Now in its third year, the Neighborhood Summit is scheduled for Saturday, September 24. The event has drawn more than 500 attendees each year and features a variety of topics. For more details visit www.NeighborhoodSummit.org.
Fall Affordable Housing ConferenceTuesday, October 25
G-STAND together with its partners, the Atlanta Housing Association of Neighborhood-based Developers and the Georgia Affordable Housing Corporation, will host the 10th Annual Fall Affordable Housing Conference in Atlanta at the State Bar of Georgia Conference Center. Conference sponsors include RBC Bank and Georgia Power. Make plans now to attend the 10th Annual Fall Affordable Housing Conference on Tuesday, October 25 from 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. at the Conference Center of the Georgia Bar Association in Atlanta. REGISTER NOW!
First Annual Conference:
Georgia Supportive Housing Association - November 15
Make plans to attend the first ever annual conference of the Georgia Supportive Housing Association - a one-day town hall meeting on supportive housing in Georgia. The event will take place at the Georgia Bar Association Conference Center and will feature a plenary session and break-out sessions. Registration is $60 for members and $75 for non-members. For more information, contact Paul Bolster at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Piece by Piece Coordinator