Piece by Piece
Watt Sets New Tone at FHFA
Rental Market Notes
5,000th NeighborhoodLIFT
WSJ: HARP Pans Out
Ocwen Settlement
HUD 2014 Income Limits
50th Anniv. of War on Poverty
Calendar Items


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Piece by Piece Update

January 14, 2014





Happy New Year! Please take note of the following news and calendar updates:


Mel Watt Sets New Tone at FHFA


(Courtesy of Liza Getsinger, NHC):A recent Wall Street Journal article calls former U.S. Rep Mel Watt's confirmation as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), replacing Edward DeMarco, "the largest potential shift in housing policy since the companies were taken over by the government in 2008," highlighting access to credit as one of his top issues, something that often took a back seat under previous leadership. Under Watt's direction we may also finally see money flowing to the National Housing Trust Fund, an issue emphasized in a recent editorial by the New York Times.  MORE 




Atlanta Ranks #6 on Top Markets to Invest in Rental Houses

(Courtesy of Atlanta Business Chronicle): Atlanta is No. 6 on a Top 10 list of housing markets in the country for investing in single-family homes for rental property, according to HomeVestors and Local Market Monitor. Rounding out the Top 10 are: Fort Worth (1), Dallas (2), Charlotte (3), Nashville (4), Houston (5), Atlanta (6), Oklahoma City (7), Orlando (8), Las Vegas (9) and Boise City (10).  MORE


Price and Demand Increases Squeeze Renters

(Courtesy of Housing Matters):  Economic pressures have driven 43 million Americans into the rental market, the highest level in a decade. The demand for rentals is driving up prices and forcing many working families to spend up to half of their income on housing, according to Chris Herbert, research director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. MORE   FULL REPORT  


Bloomberg: Wall Street 'Rental Revolution' in Atlanta

Bloomberg reporters Heather Perlberg, John Gittelsohn and Willem Marx wade deep in the waters of the "Rental Revolution" with a look at Blackstone's involvement in the Atlanta single-family rental market.  MORE


NeighborhoodLIFT Celebrates 5,000th Homeowner


(Courtesy of NWA):  More than 5,000 low- to moderate-income adults have become homeowners with the help of education and down-payment assistance from two innovative "LIFT" programs offered by NeighborWorks America and Wells Fargo. The programs started in 2012 and have launched in 22 cities, including Atlanta.  MORE


Wall Street Journal:  HARP Program Pans Out


(Courtesy of Liza Getsinger, NHC):  A recent article published in the Wall Street Journal discusses the successes of the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). HARP helped nearly 3 million homeowners with little to no equity in their homes to refinance their loans, thereby lowering their payments and reducing the risk of default. The majority of the refinances were completed over the last two years after FHFA retooled the program to remove some barriers that previously kept borrowers from qualifying for the program.  MORE




Georgia Borrowers to Share in $2.1 Billion Ocwen Settlement

(Courtesy of AJC):  Thousands of Georgia borrowers who lost their homes to foreclosure or were victims of possible improper lending practices will have loans reduced or possibly receive cash payments in a $2.1 billion settlement the state and others announced this week with Atlanta-based Ocwen Financial Corp., a major mortgage servicer.  The state Attorney General's Office announced in late December that Georgia's share of the settlement is at least an estimated $35.7 million. Those funds will be used to reduce first lien principals for about 7,602 borrowers. In addition, some Georgia homeowners whose loans have already been foreclosed may receive cash payments that exceed $1,000. The number of valid claims submitted will determine how many borrowers are eligible for payments.  MORE

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Explains What Ocwen Settlement Means for Borrowers 

(Courtesy CFPB):Along with authorities in 49 states, and the District of Columbia, CFPB is filing an order requiring the largest nonbank mortgage loan servicer in the country, Ocwen Financial Corporation, to pay for years of systemic misconduct in mortgage servicing. The misconduct included unfair shortcuts, unauthorized fees, deception, illegal foreclosures, and other illegal practices. Ocwen will be required to provide $2 billion in loan modification relief to its customers and $125 million in refunds to consumers whose homes were foreclosed.  MORE


HUD Releases New Income Limits for 2014


HUD released the FY '14 income limits and median family income (MFI) estimates on December 18. For FY '14, the estimated MFI for Atlanta Metro is $64,400. These data are used to determine eligibility for households applying for federally assisted housing programs. The FY14 MFIs are calculated using the 2007-2011 five-year American Community Survey (ACS) data, but in areas with a valid 2011 one-year ACS survey median family income, HUD incorporated the more recent data. MORE 





Does the Suburbanization of Poverty Mean the War on Poverty Failed?

(Courtesy of Brookings Institute): As part of its recent analysis on suburban poverty, the Brookings Institute examines whether changing geography of poverty means the war on poverty failed.  MORE


Saporta Report Examines Poverty in Atlanta

The Saporta Report's David Pendered looks at poverty in Atlanta examining Atlanta's ranking as the worst major urban region in the country in terms of children born into poverty moving into the middle or upper economic classes. Article also looks at ideas offered by Georgia Tech students on revitalization of the impoverished Vine City and English Avenue neighborhoods. MORE


Tools You Can Use

Metro Atlanta Equity Atlas, launched late last year by the Partnership for Southern Equity, provides data on the state of equity in metro Atlanta with focus on demographics, economic development, education, environment, health, housing, public safety and transportation.  MORE


Eviction and the Lives of the American Poor

(Courtesy of Harvard Magazine): The acute lack of affordable housing in American cities - the worst such crisis since the end of World War II - is the primary reason low-income families are being evicted at such high rates, according to extensive research conducted by Harvard sociologist Matthew Desmond. Many who are evicted end up in shelters or even on the street. When they do find housing, a record of eviction often means they are limited to decrepit units in unsafe neighborhoods. Eviction thus compounds the effects of poverty and racial discrimination. "We are learning," says Desmond, "that eviction is a cause, not just a condition of poverty."  MORE



Share your calendar items with us! Please email Susan Adams at sadams@andpi.org with news of your upcoming events.



January 16; 2PM; FREE WEBINAR. New Year, Fresh Start:  January Is Financial Wellness Month. Many people start the new year with resolutions to get their financial house in order.  The federal Assets for Independence (AFI) program provides funding to community-based organizations, including housing authorities and affordable housing providers, to start matched savings programs that can help low-income households improve their budgeting skills and increase their economic security.  On Thursday, January 16 at 2 p.m. EST, join NHC and AFI for this webinar to learn more about how matched savings programs work, and the funding available for affordable housing to provide more than a roof for their residents.   REGISTER



January 21; GSTAND Annual Meeting, Macon, GA. For more details, contact Kate Little at ksl1@gstand.org



February 21; 1PM; Help for Homeowners event. The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), as part of the Obama Administration's Making Home Affordable Program, are partnering with the HOPE NOW Alliance and NeighborWorks America® to bring a free homeowner event to the area. These events are designed to help bring together homeowners in financial distress for a face-to-face meeting with a representative from their mortgage lender and/or local housing counselor. The event is open to the public at 1:00 pm and is located at Cobb Galleria Centre - Atlanta, Two Galleria Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30339. 

How you can help with the event  

Flyer (Bilingual) for Attendees




Susan Adams

Piece by Piece Coordinator  



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