Piece by Piece Update

February 2015





Please take note of the following news and calendar updates:





Newly named NeighborWorks America CEO Paul Weech to provide keynote address at PBP event March 17.


In the aftermath of the foreclosure crisis, metro Atlanta leads the country with 35% of homeowners underwater on their mortgage loans (Haas Institute, 2014).  Housing recovery in the region has been wildly uneven.  The slow rising tide of home prices in affluent neighborhoods has bypassed large portions of metro Atlanta, particularly communities south of I-20 and along portions of the I-85 corridor.

Of the top 10 hardest-hit zip codes in the country for negative equity, nine are located in metro Atlanta. The hardest hit zip code in the country is in Clayton County where  a staggering 76% of homeowners are underwater.  In this Clayton community, 89% of homeowners are African American. The impact of negative equity is even more significant given the fact that home equity accounts for 92% of personal net worth for the typical African-American household. 

On March 17, Piece by Piece will convene its 150+ partner organizations and more to discuss strategies for addressing the negative equity issue. Make plans to join us for a half-day discussion at The Carter Center.
 Select the "Register Now" link to reserve your seat today. 

Additional presenters will be announced soon.  




Suburbs and the New America Poverty


More people with low incomes now live outside of cities, and some areas are ill-equipped to deal with the influx of the poor.  The Atlantic Magazine explores suburban poverty with focus on Norcross in Gwinnett County. Fully 88 percent of Atlanta's poor live in the suburbs, according to Confronting Suburban Poverty in America, by Elizabeth Kneebone and Alan Berube of the Brookings Institution. Between 2000 and 2011, Atlanta's suburban poor population grew by 159 percent, while the city's poor population remained essentially flat.  MORE

President Obama Unveils Plan to Expand Access to Homeownership


(Courtesy of Enterprise Community Partners):  On January 8, President Obama unveiled his Administration's plan to expand access to sustainable homeownership for creditworthy families. His speech focused on the housing market's role in our economic recovery and the importance of homeownership in growing the American middle class.  Enterprise's Housing Horizon blog summarizes the key points of the Obama plan.  MORE | FHA MORTGAGEE LETTER

Reversal of Fortune for African-American Families


(Courtesy of Washington Post): In Prince George's County Maryland, the nation's highest-income majority-black county, residents have lost far more wealth than families in neighboring, majority-white suburbs. And while every one of these surrounding counties is enjoying a strong rebound in housing prices and their economies, Prince George's is lagging far behind, and local economists say a full recovery appears unlikely anytime soon.  The same reversal of fortune is playing out in metro Atlanta and across the country as black families who worked painstakingly to climb into the middle class are seeing their financial foundation for future generations collapse.  The recession and tepid recovery have erased two decades of African American wealth gains. MORE


Lending Too Restrictive


(Courtesy of AJC):  Metro Atlanta housing counselor Jimmy Bennett contributes opinion piece to AJC on current lending environment. "I know too many creditworthy families who can afford a home but are unable to purchase one because of overly restrictive lending standards. Not only are lending standards much tighter now than prior to the foreclosure crisis, they are much tighter than even historic norms."  MORE 


Economic Forces Shaping Millenials Housing Choices


(Courtesy of Housing Matters):  The millennial generation is characterized as delaying household formation, marriage and homeownership, but economic conditions are shaping those decisions, not inherent preferences, writes Lisa Sturtevant, executive director of the Center for Housing Policy and vice president for research for the National Housing Conference. These milestones will happen later in life for many millennials, but they will still happen, and this generation needs policies that support them, she writes. MORE


End of Veteran Homelessness in New Orleans


(Courtesy of NHC and Rebekah King):  New Orleans Mayor Landrieu recently announced that the city has effectively ended veteran homelessness. The city housed 227 veterans in 2014 and ensures that any veteran who becomes homeless is re-housed within 30 days, on average. This achievement exemplifies how communities can end veteran homelessness through a concerted local effort using federal and other resources. MORE



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


February 13 - The American Community Survey (ACS) can be a great source of data for analying housing needs. Finding the right information using the Census Bureau's American Factfinder can be complicated. And once you've found the data, it is sometimes a challenge to figure out how to present the data effectively. The National Housing Conference (NHC) invites you to participate in a free interactive webinar about how to use data from the American Community Survey. Friday, February 13, 2pm - 3:30 pm. REGISTRATION


February 20 - C3 - Connecting for Community Change - hosted by United Way for Greater Atlanta- is the only immersive conference experience in Atlanta connecting a diverse group people who bring the passion, expertise and resources needed for positive, sustainable change.  Join more than 500 agents of community change including nonprofits, corporations and philanthropists across our 13-county region for a day of collaboration and innovation. MORE

March 4 - GREFPAC 11th Annual Educational Conference. Agenda includes: Newest Fraud Trends, Mortgage Fraud Developments & Risk Concerns, and Combating Fraud from the Front Lines. REGISTRATION

March 17 - Underwater Atlanta - Piece by Piece will convene its 150+ partner organizations and more to discuss strategies for addressing the negative equity issue. Make plans to join us for a half-day discussion at The Carter Center. MORE | REGISTRATION


March 19 - Georgia ACT Annual Member Meeting & Board Election. For more information about becoming a member or affiliate member, contact Kate Little at 404-586-0740.


HomeSafe Georgia Representatives will be at the following events to discuss their federally funded mortgage assistance program that helps homeowners avoid foreclosure. For more information about the program, visit



  • 13th, Calhoun Job Fair, 1-4 PM; Voluntary Action Center, 343 South Wall Street, Calhoun;
  • 18th, Rome Job Fair, 10 AM - 12:30 PM; Goodwill Career Center, 154 Hicks Drive, Rome;
  • 19th , Wheeler County Job Fair, 11 AM - 1 PM; Wheeler County Service Center, 16 W. Forest Avenue, Alamo;
  • 25th , Berean Christian Church Career Expo, 10 AM - 2 PM; Kerwin B. Lee Family Life Center, 2197 Young Road, Stone Mountain;
  • 26th, Veterans' Career Fair & Diversity Job Expo, 10 AM - 2 PM; Atlanta Motor Speedway, Hampton.


  • 12th , Veterans Spring Career Fair, 1 - 4 PM; Valdosta Career Center, 221 South Ashley Street, Valdosta;
  • 19th, Veterans' Career Fair & Diversity Job Expo, 10 AM - 2 PM; Cobb Galleria Centre, Atlanta.


Susan Adams

Piece by Piece Coordinator