Piece by Piece
Call to Action!
Betting on a Rebound
Foreclosed at fastest pace
GA 5th Poorest
ALTC Highlighted by HUD
Housing our Heroes
Deadline for Foreclosure Review


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Piece by Piece Update

December 12, 2012





Please take note of the following news and calendar updates:


REALTORS Issue Call to Action to Extend Mortgage Forgiveness Tax Relief; Owners of Distressed Properties Could Face Hefty Tax Bills



(Courtesy of National Association of REALTORS):  Congress will soon return to Washington with unfinished business to complete. One of those items is a housing issue that could affect almost one-quarter of all real estate transactions - the expiration of Mortgage Forgiveness Tax Relief. Without action before the end of the year, millions of families who hold distressed properties could face a hefty tax bill for trying to modify their mortgage or to seek a short sale through their lender. Even those facing foreclosure will find themselves forced to pay a "foreclosure tax" if Congress doesn't act.  This is because the amount of debt forgiven by the lender would be considered "phantom income" to the borrower even though they never receive any payment from the lender.  To learn more and to take action CLICK HERE
Attorneys-general from Nevada, Florida, Connecticut and Massachusetts are leading a push that now includes 41 attorneys-general to extend this law. Without it, efforts to prevent further foreclosures and reduce the mortgage debt burden that is hampering the economic recovery could falter.  The AGs wrote a letter to the leaders of the U.S. House and Senate requesting an extension. The letter noted that if the $25 billion national settlement does expire, homeowners would face up to $1.3 billion in tax increases over two years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.  Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens is a signatory to the November 20 letter from the attorneys general.   MORE     FULL TEXT OF LETTER


Private Capital is Betting on a Housing Rebound


(Courtesy of New York Times):  As the foreclosure crisis grinds on, knowledgeable, cash-rich investors are doing something that still gives many ordinary Americans pause: they are leaping headlong into the housing market. And not just into tricky mortgage investments, collateralized this or securitized that, but actual houses.  A flurry of private-equity giants and hedge funds have spent billions of dollars to buy thousands of foreclosed single-family homes. They are purchasing them on the cheap through bank auctions, multiple listing services, short sales and bulk purchases from local investors in need of cash, with plans to fix up the properties, rent them out and watch their values soar as the industry rebounds. They have raised as much as $8 billion to invest.  MORE



Homeowners Over 50 are Falling into Foreclosure at Fastest Pace:


(Courtesy of the New York Times and Housing Wire): Just as the housing market is recovering, a growing group of homeowners - widows over the age of 50 whose husbands alone were holders of the mortgage - are losing their homes to foreclosure because of a paperwork flaw that keeps them from obtaining loan modifications.  In the latest chapter of the foreclosure crisis, homeowners over 50 are falling into foreclosure at the fastest pace of any age group, according to nationwide data, in part because women are outliving their spouses and are unable to cope with cuts in their pensions, ballooning medical costs - and the fine print on their mortgages.  While there are no exact measures of how many widows have entered foreclosure, figures compiled by AARP show the rate of foreclosures among people over 50 increased by 23 percent from 2007 to 2011, resulting in 1.5 million foreclosures. MORE



Poverty on the Rise; Georgia Ranks 5th Poorest


(Courtesy of Georgia Budget and Policy Institute):  Nearly one in five Georgians, and one out of four children, live in poverty, according to 2011 U.S. Census data, making Georgia the fifth-poorest state in the nation. Since the recession hit, Georgia's overall poverty rate has increased by approximately five percentage points and the child poverty rate has risen by nearly seven percentage points. At the same time, state policymakers have cut education and other vital services that help families pull themselves out of poverty.  MORE


Atlanta's Community Land Trust Highlighted by HUD as Model for Innovation



(Courtesy of HUD's PD&R Edge Online Magazine):  An innovation in the community land trust (CLT) concept has been introduced in Atlanta, Georgia that is reshaping assistance for low-income homeownership across the United States. Created in December 2009, the Atlanta Land Trust Collaborative (ALTC) acts as a hybrid CLT; it functions not only as an independent, citywide land trust, but also as a "central server" to neighborhood organizations. As a CLT, ALTC has helped preserve the affordability of 3 units at the Lofts at Reynoldstown Crossing, and as a central server, ALTC has helped form 3 CLTs in 7 neighborhoods that are preserving the affordability of 118 housing units.  MORE



Housing Our Nation's Heroes: The Ongoing Challenge to Help Homeless Veterans Find Safe, Stable Housing


(Courtesy of NHC):   After helping to find housing for 250 Atlanta area homeless veterans since May, the Unsheltered No More Team has committed to help house an additional 200 more homeless veterans in 2013.  Unsheltered  No More illustrates the critical need for close coordination and partnerships among many housing and service providers.  The Washington Post recently focused on the journey of one homeless veteran in Arlington, VA to find a place to call home.   It took nearly a year for 61-year-old  Ernie Maas, a Navy Vietnam Veteran,  to secure a VASH voucher and move into a one-bedroom apartment in northern Virginia. While this story has a happy ending, the piece illustrates the many challenges facing homeless veterans on a  national scale.  MORE  



December 31, 2012 

DEADLINE FOR FORECLOSURE REVIEW - If you believe your home was foreclosed due to errors, time is running out to request a review. Visit IndependentForeclosureReview.com or call 1-888-952-9105 to request a review. "Request for Review" form must be submitted no later than December 31, 2012. If assistance is needed in completing the form, contact a HUD-approved nonprofit organization that helps homeowners in distress. Information about HUD-approved nonprofit organizationsInformation about HUD-approved nonprofit organizations that can provide free assistance is available at

makinghomeaffordable.gov/get-started/housing-expert or by calling 1-855-778-0855. MORE




Susan Adams

Piece by Piece Coordinator  



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