Piece by Piece
DA to Handle Code Violations?
Home Prices Increase
Private Investors in Atlanta
Waypoint gets Citigroup Loan
Foreclosures Hurt Renters
GA 5th in Poverty
Mayor: End Vet Homelessnes
CredAbility Reconnect
Calendar Items: ARC State of the Region Breakfast


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Piece by Piece Update

September 27, 2012





Please take note of the following news and calendar items. 

DeKalb County Commission May Give DA Power to Handle Code Violations


(Courtesy of AJC):  DeKalb County could soon put some new legal juice behind its ongoing battle to boost code enforcement.  The County Commission could grant the district attorney's office the ability to prosecute code violators.  A state law adopted last year allows the designation, which likely means the larger and more complex cases would move from Recorders Court to Superior Court.While setting DeKalb apart from Cobb and Gwinnett counties - whose solicitors handle code violations - the change also would put those cases before judges who can force demolitions or issue other orders to get properties cleaned up. Recorders Court judges don't have that power.  "We have several properties with a number of code violations and several thousand dollars of fines and fees that are just languishing," said Nicole Marchand Golden, the chief assistant district attorney. "We want to help that process along, so residents see results."  MORE



National Home Prices Increase 1.2% in July Over Last Year; Atlanta is One of Four Markets Where Prices Fell



(Courtesy of Associated Press):  National home prices increased 1.2 percent in July, compared to the same month last year, according to the Standard & Poor's/Case Shiller index released Tuesday. That's the second straight year-over-year gain after two years without one.  The report also says prices rose in July from June in all 20 cities tracked by the index. That's the third straight month in which prices rose in every city.  Steady price increases and record-low mortgage rates are helping drive a housing recovery.  In the 12 months ending in July, prices have risen in 16 of 20 cities. In Phoenix, one of the cities hardest hit by the housing bust, prices are up 16.6 percent in that stretch. Prices in Minneapolis and Detroit have risen more than 6 percent.  Prices fell from a year earlier in Atlanta, Chicago, New York and Las Vegas.  The S&P/Case-Shiller index covers roughly half of U.S. homes. It measures prices compared with those in January 2000 and creates a three-month moving average. The July figures are the latest available.Home prices are still 30 percent below their peak in June 2006, according to Case-Shiller. That was the height of the housing boom. 


Private Investors Jump into Atlanta Foreclosure Market


(Courtesy of Wall Street Journal):  The business of buying foreclosed homes, renovating and renting them out is morphing from a largely mom-and-pop business into the next big thing on Wall Street. Investors who once chased only big-ticket deals now are buying houses one at a time.   According to investment bank Jefferies & Co., major financial firms led by Colony, Blackstone Group LP, Och-Ziff Capital Management and Oaktree Capital Group LLC have raised more than $8 billion to buy houses, largely in markets pummeled by the housing crisis. Blackstone and Colony have been especially aggressive in foreclosure-racked Georgia. MORE



Real Estate Firm Gets Citigroup Loan to Buy Properties to Turn into Rentals


Waypoint Real Estate Group LLC, a major investor in U.S. foreclosed homes, has secured a $65 million loan from Citigroup Inc.  to help add to its portfolio of properties, according to people familiar with the matter. Bankers and investors said the debt-financing deal is a milestone for the burgeoning business of renting out houses that were previously in foreclosure.

Waypoint, an Oakland, Calif., investment firm, is working with Citigroup on a bigger, longer-term financing deal that is expected to close in the coming weeks, the people said.  MORE


New Report Shows Foreclosure Crisis Continues to Hurt Renters



(Courtesy of National Low Income Housing Coalition):  The plight of distressed homeowners has been central to the story of the foreclosure crisis. But as a new report shows, as the crisis 

continues, renters find themselves at great risk of losing their homes due to foreclosure as well.  Renters make up at least 40% of families affected by foreclosure, and the number of renters affected by foreclosure has tripled in just the last three years, according to a report released today by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. The report, Renters in Foreclosure:  A Fresh Look at an Ongoing Problem, also shows that in the early years of the foreclosure crisis, high-poverty neighborhoods saw the most foreclosures, and foreclosure rates are still disproportionately high in African-American neighborhoods, particularly foreclosures of multifamily (rental) properties.  MORE


Georgia Has Fifth Highest Poverty Rate in Nation


(Courtesy of Georgia Budget and Policy Institute):  Georgia has the fifth highest poverty rate in the nation, with children hit the hardest, according to data released today from the U. S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.  Nearly one in five Georgians are living in poverty, and one out of four children in the state are living in poverty. The federal poverty level for a family of four is just $22,150 per year. At 9.2 percent, Georgia's unemployment rate is well above the national average. Nearly half a million Georgians are out of work, and there is only one job opening for every five laid-off workers seeking employment.  MORE


Atlanta Announces Goal to End Veteran Homelessness in 15 Months


(Courtesy of AJC): Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed joined advocates for the homeless on Monday to announce a goal of ending chronic homelessness among military veterans in Atlanta within 15 months. Meeting that goal will be difficult.  About 1,200 homeless veterans live in Atlanta, and more than 400 are thought to be chronically homeless, according to a city-wide count in January 2011. Chronic homelessness can be compounded by serious health issues, substance abuse, mental illness or reluctance to seek treatment. The federal government defines the chronically homeless as people who have been homeless for more than one year or who have experienced homelessness four or more times in three years.City officials tout recent successes. Atlanta housed 131 veterans in 100 days by cutting wait times with the help of federal agencies and nonprofits. The plan is to find housing for another 300 chronically homeless veterans by December 2013.  MORE


CredAbility Launches New Online Financial Education Program for Military Personnel 


CredAbility recently launched CredAbility Reconnect, a new online financial education program for military personnel. CredAbility ReConnect is aimed at helping active duty military service members, veterans and their families regain their financial footing and develop a long-term program for financial health. Approximately 250,000 people who are members of the three veterans' organization will have access to their own custom website where they can learn how to handle their finances. Clients may seek free counseling at any time from CredAbility counselors who are certified to assist military personnel by USA Cares.  MORE




October 12

Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) State of the Region Breakfast featuring Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institute.  MORE

October 13

Resources for Residents and Communities (RRC) presents "203K Rehab Loan Information Session." 10:30am-12:30pm, Light Refreshments. Event held at 

Lang-Carson Center, 100 Flat Shoals Ave, SE, Atlanta, GA 30316. Register today by calling 404.525.4130 x17  MORE


October 23

11th Annual Fall Affordable Housing Conference Sponsored by AHAND-GSTAND.   Designed for nonprofit housing practitioners, the conference has sessions for developers and housing housing counselors. Among the presenters will be HUD staff to brief participants on proposed changes to the HOME Investment Program and to talk about fair housing requirements. Early registration ends October 5th, so register now  at www.ahand.org to get the reduced fee:  AHAND/GSTAND Member $75/$95 per person; Non-Member $100/$125 per person; Student $25 per person.  MORE




Susan Adams

Piece by Piece Coordinator  



andp brown