Piece by Piece Update
November 9, 2011
Please review the following news and calendar items. We appreciate your ongoing support and engagement.
DeKalb launches program to put teachers and first responders into DeKalb Homes
DeKalb County recently highlighted ONE DeKalb Lives and the Good Neighbor Next Door Initiative, an innovative program - bundling some of DeKalb's most successful housing programs like NSP -- to put County public school teachers and first responders into homes in DeKalb's neighborhoods. The program is designed to encourage homeownership and reduce the high volume of foreclosures in Decatur, Lithonia, Stone Mountain, and Ellenwood. MORE: See coverage of the launch event. Visit the ONE DeKalb Lives website.
Atlanta home prices fell at end of summer
Metro Atlanta home prices were 6.3 percent lower than they were in August, 2010, while the national average was down 3.8 percent, according to a recent report in the AJC. Only Minneapolis, Portland, and Phoenix had higher year-over-year drops in value than Atlanta. MORE
Restore housing counseling funds to FY2012 budget
On November 1, the U.S. Senate passed a $182 billion spending bill for fiscal year 2012 that reflects a bill passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee in September. The legislation comprises spending bills for the departments of Agriculture, Commerce-Justice-Science, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and includes the restoration of funding for housing counseling programs under HUD. The bill was approved through a 69 to 30 majority vote, and includes $60 million for housing counseling assistance through September 30, 2012. The approval of the minibus marks the final passage in Senate before both the House and Senate bills are reconciled in conference.
A House appropriations bill approved in September zeroed out housing counseling funds. That bill has yet to move forward to the full House Committee. The Senate and the House will reconcile the differences between the appropriations legislation in conference. That could happen as early as this week, and is expected to happen within the next two weeks.
What can you do to help? The National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) is organizing a campaign to let elected officials know that housing counseling is a necessary investment. You can contact Emily Rhodenbaugh at ERhodenbaugh@ncrc.org to sign on to the letter or request more details on how to contact your US House legislators.
OCC rolls out foreclosure appeals program
The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (federal bank regulators) have required an Independent Foreclosure Review by an independent consultant to identify eligible customers (of the 14 largest residential mortgage servicers) who may have been financially injured due to errors, misrepresentations or other deficiencies in their foreclosure process. If the review finds that financial injury occurred, the customer may receive compensation or other remedy.
To qualify, an individual's mortgage loan would need to meet the initial eligibility criteria:
* The mortgage loan was serviced by one of the participating mortgage servicers.
* The mortgage loan was active in the foreclosure process between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010.
*The property served as primary residence.
Eligible customers will be mailed a letter by December 31, 2011 that explains the Independent Foreclosure Review process and a Request for Review Form that identifies some examples of situations that may have led to financial injury. The form must be completed and postmarked not later than April 30, 2012. See frequently asked questions (includes a list of the 14 servicing lenders) regarding the Foreclosure Review program. AJC: Georgians respond to OCC foreclosure review announcement
Protecting Tenant Victims of Foreclosure
The Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation and Emory Legislative Policy Group drafted and are working to enact House Bill 445 - the Rights and Responsibilities at Foreclosure Act - which protects innocent tenants from immediate eviction when their landlord's property goes into foreclosure. For more information about the fact sheet, contact Robert Pendergrass at firstname.lastname@example.org. READ THE BILL FACT SHEET
Atlanta has nation's highest level of income inequality
The City of Atlanta had the highest income inequality rate in the country from 2005 to 2009, just ahead of New Orleans, Washington, DC and Miami, according to a US Census Bureau report featured in the AJC. As a region, Metro Atlanta fared better in the analysis. The Region had lower income inequality than the nationwide average of metro areas during the five-year period. New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Houston and Memphis ranked as the top five metro areas highest in income inequality. MORE
Piece by Piece Coordinator