Piece by Piece
Atlanta HUD Finalist
Investors Form Trade Group
Recovery Leaves Minorities Behind
Metro Atl 10th in Vacancy
GA Minimum Wage Workers Struggle with Rent
Banks Exceed $20B in Aid
CA Law Disputes Use of Settlement Funds
Counselors at your Fingertips
Zombie Foreclosures
Calendar Items


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Piece by Piece Update

March 18, 2014





Please take note of the following news and calendar updates:


Atlanta Finalist for $30M HUD Choice Neighborhood



(Courtesy of Saporta Report): Atlanta is one of six cities HUD has chosen as finalists for a federal Choice Neighborhood grant that would provide Atlanta with up to $30 million to improve three impoverished neighborhoods. Atlanta would target the money on three neighborhoods west of the future Falcons stadium. The potential federal grant is separate from the $30 million already promised to the area by Atlanta and the Blank Family Foundation.The Choice Neighborhood program has been described as an expansion of the HOPE VI program. Atlanta was a national leader in using HOPE VI funds to replace many blighted public housing projects with mixed income communities.  MORE



Private Equity Investors Form Trade Group


(Courtesy of Housing Wire and Housing Matters): Large private equity firms like Blackstone, Starwood and Colony Capital, who individually own massive portfolios of single-family rental homes across the U.S., announced this week the formation of the National Rental Home Council (NRHC), a non-partisan coalition focused on increasing education about the professionally managed single-family rental industry and advocating for the benefits brought by this sub-sector of today's rental market.  MORE


More on equity investment trend in single-family real estate market HERE.


Housing Recovery Leaves Minorities Behind


(Courtesy of Washington Post and Housing Matters): Minorities who disproportionately lost wealth during the housing bust are now disproportionately left out of the recovery, too.  Minority borrowers tend to be over-represented among lower FICO scores. That means that as credit expands (as it did during the boom), the housing market opens up to more minorities; as it contracts, it drops them. In 2001, black borrowers represented 6 percent of all purchase loans. By 2005, their share was up to 8 percent. Now it's down to 5 percent. For Hispanics, the proportion shifted from 9 up to 13 percent, back down to 9 percent again.  MORE


Policy Focus on Vacant and Abandoned Properties; Atlanta Ranks 10th in Vacancies of US Metros


(Courtesy of HUD): The most recent issue of HUD's Evidence Matters: Transforming Knowledge Into Housing and Community Development Policy, examining the challenges of vacant and abandoned properties, is now available. Vacant and abandoned properties are more than just a symptom of larger economic forces at work in the community; their association with crime, increased risk to health and welfare, plunging property values, and escalating municipal costs make them problems in and of themselves, contributing to overall community decline and disinvestment.Local government officials, community organizations, and residents, however, increasingly view vacant properties as opportunities for productive reuse, reimagining blight and dilapidation as urban farms, community gardens, and health facilities.  Metro Atlanta has 10th highest vacancy rate among top 75 metropolitan areas.  MORE



Georgia's Minimum Wage Workers Struggle with Rent

National Low Income Housing Coalition Releases 25th Annual "Out of Reach" Report 


(Courtesy of National Low Income Housing Coalition): What is the wage a household must earn to afford a modest rental home?  In Georgia, the Fair Market Rent (FMR) for a two-bedroom apartment is $809. In order to afford this level of rent and utilities - without paying more than 30% of income on housing - a household must earn $2,698 monthly or $32,375 annually. Assuming a 40-hour work week, 52 weeks per year, this level of income translates into a Housing Wage of $15.57.  In Georgia, a minimum wage worker earns an hourly wage of $7.25.  MORE


Related:  CNN  USA Today


Banks Exceed $20 Billion in Mortgage Settlement Aid


(Courtesy of Washington Post and Housing Matters): The nation's largest banks have met their obligations to provide relief to struggling homeowners under the $25 billion national mortgage settlement, the landmark agreement to clean up foreclosure prac­tices. In March, the court-appointed monitor of the settlement said Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial had all completed their requirements to offer various types of aid to borrowers, including allowing them to refinance or lowering the balance of their loan. MORE 


California Law Suit Disputes Use of Settlement Funds


(Courtesy of Sacramento Bee): A coalition of Latino and African American faith groups and an Asian American home counseling organization filed suit against California Governor Jerry Brown, demanding that California send millions to homeowners trying to stave off foreclosure.The budget that lawmakers passed and Brown signed in 2012 transferred $410 million out of the mortgage settlement account to plug budget gaps. MORE



Housing Counselors at your Fingertips


The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau offers a national database of housing counseling agencies approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  The database searches counseling agencies by zip code.  MORE 


CFPB Targest 'Zombie' Foreclosures


(Courtesy of Reuters and Center for Community Progress): The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is probing "zombie" foreclosures, a phenomenon first revealed by Reuters last year.  Zombie foreclosures result when banks begin a foreclosure -even going so far as to send the homeowners a foreclosure notice - but then abandon it, failing to alert the homeowners, who have often moved out, that they are still responsible for their vacant properties.  MORE




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



HomeSafe Georgia representatives will be participating in the following events. Please plan to attend an event near you to learn about the temporary mortgage payment assistance program. 


April 24th; Atlanta Diversity Veteran & Professional Career Fair; 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; Cobb Galleria Centre, Atlanta;


April 26th; Financial and Homebuyers Workshop;  10 a.m. - 2 p.m.; Springfield Baptist, Conyers;


May 6th; Georgia DOL & Army Career & Alumni Program Job Fair 2014; 9:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.; U.S. Army Reserve Center, Building 14401, 15th Street & Lane Avenue, Fort Gordon;


May 22nd; ACAP/ACS Spring Career Fair;  10 a.m. - 2 p.m.; Club Stewart, Fort Stewart;


May 30th Robins AFB Civilian Personnel Services Job Fair;  10 a.m. - 3 p.m.;  Heritage Club, Robins AFB.


Please encourage those who may need assistance to visit us at an event or the HomeSafe Georgia website, www.homesafegeorgia.com.  For questions, please contact Cynthia Harrison, HomeSafe Georgia Outreach Coordinator, at 404-502-6176.





Susan Adams

Piece by Piece Coordinator