Piece by Piece Update

May 2015





Please take note of the following news and calendar updates:


National Housing Conference to Award Piece by Piece with 2015 Housing Visionary Award



The Piece by Piece Regional Foreclosure Initiative will be honored on  June 11 at the National Housing Conference (NHC) 2015 Annual Gala at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC.  PBP will receive NHC's 2015 Housing Visionary Award along with the Community Properties Initiative in Columbus, Ohio.  This year's Gala is co-chaired by former HUD Secretary Mel Martinez, chairman of the southeast U.S. and Latin America for JP Morgan Chase, and Nancy Andrews, president and CEO of the Low Income Investment Fund. MORE


HARP & HAMP Mortgage Loan Modification Programs Have Been EXTENDED through 2016


Last week, Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Mel Watt announced that the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) and the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) have been extended through 2016.

Make Room: Voices for Renters


(Courtesy of Enterprise Capital Express): Make Room, a nationwide campaign to end the rental housing crisis in America, launched on May 1. The campaign, sponsored by Enterprise, with the collaboration of the MacArthur Foundation, will work with public, private and nonprofit partners to raise awareness and give a voice to renters. More than 11 million families in America, or one in four of the 42 million U.S. renter households, spend at least half their income on rent, forcing them to choose between paying their rent and paying for groceries, medicine, childcare and other essentials. MORE


Single-Family Landlords Raising Rents


(Courtesy of Bloomberg): The largest U.S. single-family home landlords plan to raise their rents as much as 5.7 percent this year as they shift focus from buying properties to boosting their bottom lines. Large buyers -- those who purchase at least 10 properties a year -- have spent about $68 billion amassing about 528,000 single-family rental homes since 2011, according to recent reports. The CEOs of Silver Bay, Starwood Waypoint and American Residential Properties all said they plan to raise rents this year. MORE


Rising Rents are Propping up Inflation


(Courtesy of Housing Matters): Rising rents are acting as a major driver of the U.S. inflation rate, even though it remains lower than the Federal Reserve's 2% target. This is one reason that the Fed is unlikely to raise rates in June, as some previously expected. MORE 


Research Supports Neighborhoods' Role in Economic Mobility


(Courtesy of Housing Matters): Research shows that neighborhoods can offer children economic mobility or set them on a path to generational poverty. New studies find that when families move to neighborhoods with increased opportunities, their children ultimately earn more money. This pattern holds true for young children whose families relocated through the Moving to Opportunity voucher program. MORE



Historian on NPR's Fresh Air: "Don't sanitize how our government created ghettos"


(Courtesy of NPR): Fifty years after the repeal of Jim Crow, many African-Americans still live in segregated ghettos in the country's metropolitan areas. Richard Rothstein, a research associate at the Economic Policy Institute, has spent years studying the history of residential segregation in America.  Rothstein talks about the Federal Housing Administration's "overtly racist policies" in the 1930s, '40s and '50s. MORE


Foreclosure Crisis Led to More Segregated Neighborhoods


(Courtesy of NHC; Rebekah King): Ten million families experienced foreclosures during the housing crisis, which means 10 million families had to move. While most families remained in the same metropolitan area, their local migration patterns slowed declines in segregation between blacks and whites by 19 percent and between whites and Hispanics by 50 percent. According to a recent study, minorities who experienced foreclosures moved to more distressed neighborhoods. White homeowners were the first to leave places hit by foreclosure and did not move to more distressed neighborhoods. These trends have led to many neighborhoods becoming more segregated than they would have been if the foreclosure crisis had not happened. Racial segregation between blacks and whites has been declining for decades, but slowly, and not evenly across the country. This recent increase is small but significant, and in areas hit particularly hard by the crisis, the increase was fairly large, like in Las Vegas and Sacramento. MORE  STUDY


Long Commutes Hinder Economic Mobility, Study Finds


(Courtesy of Housing Matters): Commuting time is the strongest factor limiting upward mobility for those living in poverty, according to an ongoing Harvard study. Transportation has a stronger correlation to mobility than crime or school test scores, the study indicates. A separate study from New York University found that areas with insufficient access to mass transit had the highest rates of unemployment and the lowest incomes. MORE 



The U.S. Homeownership Rate Is Slow to Recover 

(Courtesy of NHC): About 9.3 million homeowners went through foreclosure or were forced to sell at a loss in the wake of the housing crash. Only 950,000 have purchased again, and 1.5 million are likely to make a purchase in the next five years. According to a National Association of REALTORS® study, the tight credit market continues to keep many potential homebuyers out of the U.S. real estate market. At the end of last year, the U.S. homeownership rate fell to a two-decade low of 64 percent. A report released by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. projects that the homeownership rate will fall to 63.5 percent by 2016, and then plateau for years. Even individuals who have repaired their credit will face challenges to homeownership in areas that have recovered and are becoming increasingly unaffordable, such as coastal California.  MORE


GALLUP: Fewer Non-Homeowners Expect to Buy

In the U.S., 41% of non-homeowners have no plans to buy a home; homeownership is down to 61% -the lowest in nearly 15 years; and 34% of Americans rent their primary residence.  MORE

Drop in Homeownership Increases Wealth Gap 

(Courtesy of Housing Matters); The wealth gap in the U.S. is growing in part due to more people renting instead of buying homes. Homeowners are seeing their wealth increase as housing prices rise. Meanwhile, renters must absorb increasing rents that eat away their net worth. MORE


Most Millennials Want to Own A Home, ULI Survey Finds


(Courtesy of Housing Matters):  Half of Americans ages 19 to 36 -- the millennial generation -- rent their homes today, but 70% want to own a home by 2020, according to a survey by the Urban Land Institute. MORE

Housing Counselors Can Now Share Credit Reports with Client


(Courtesy of NHC; Rebekah King and Ethan Handelman): Until now, a housing counselor could review a client's credit report but couldn't actually show it to the client. Now that is beginning to change, thanks to new agreements between FICO and the three credit reporting agencies: Experian, Transunion and Equifax. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) reports that once the credit reporting agencies follow suit and adjust their policies, housing counselors will be better able to empower their clients to better financial decision-making. MORE


HUD Prioritizes Foreclosure Prevention in Loan-Sale Changes


(Courtesy of NHC; Amanda Gold and Ethan Handelman): Since 2012, HUD has sold $3.7 billion of nonperforming loans to third parties as a way to minimize government losses and provide flexibility to aid homeowners in communities hurt by foreclosures. In new changes to the Distressed Asset Stabilization Program (DASP), HUD will require servicers to delay foreclosures for one year and evaluate all borrowers for a mortgage workout. Previously, servicers who purchased distressed loans could foreclose after six months and were encouraged but not required to evaluate borrowers for workouts. MORE




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


June 3; 9:30 am to 12:00 pm; GREFPAC Quarterly Educational Meeting;  Atlanta Jr. League;3154 Northside Pkwy. NW Atlanta, GA 30327;  Learn about HUD New Regulations and Implementation.  Scott Bice, Director of Quality Assurance HUD, will speak on the new FHA Single Family Policy Handbook and the implementation which is scheduled for September. Sharon Soogrim, HUD Special Investigator will join Scott to discuss broader HUD and FHA issues affecting the industry.  REGISTRATION


June 3; 9:30 am to 11:45 am; Atlanta Regional Housing Forum. As Atlanta's economy improves, there is significant growth in residential real estate development - and with this growth, concerns about gentrification are heightened. Many in-town neighborhoods like West End, East Atlanta, Kirkwood, and Old Fourth Ward have been growing in popularity - and price - much to the dismay of some long-term residents. New investments in the Westside and along the Beltline are creating even more angst and concern about the gentrification of formerly affordable neighborhoods. Join us at the June 3 Atlanta Regional Housing Forum as we discuss the issue of Gentrification in Metro Atlanta. REGISTRATION



June 6;  10:00 am to 2:00 pm; Free Workshop, "Empowering Leadersto Impact Housing Recovery; Free Workshop, 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM; St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 425 Peachtree Street NE.  As part of NeighborWorks Week, ANDP is hosting a workshop designed to empower and educate neighborhood leaders in communities with high rates of underwater homeowners.  Participants will hear from top experts with practical, proven strategies to return neighborhoods to health.   Join other concerned leaders to learn about: loan modifications, code enforcement/property law; and lifting neighborhood values.  REGISTRATION  |  DETAILS



HomeSafe Georgia representatives will be at the following events to discuss their federally funded mortgage assistance program that helps homeowners avoid foreclosure. 

HomeSafe Georgia is a free, state government program to help homeowners who are unemployed, underemployed or face other types of financial hardships save their homes from foreclosure.  There is no cost to apply and no fee if you are approved.          


 A homeowner who has experienced a financial hardship within the last 36 months i.e. hardship associated with loss of job, military service, death of a spouse, or medical hardship may be eligible for HomeSafe Georgia assistance.    We encourage potential eligible homeowners to attend one of the events. 


Churches, clubs and community organizations are encouraged to inform others about the above events and to help those without internet access to apply for these funds. For more information, please visit



  • H.O.P.E for Homeowners,   May 30, 2015; 10 AM - 2 PM; The Rock Baptist Church, 6188 Highway 42, Rex


  • Empowering Leaders to bring Housing Recovery to all Communities, Free Workshop; June 6, 2015 10 AM - 2 PM; St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 425 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta;

  • DeKalb Community Commissioner Stan Watson's June DeKalb Community Cabinet breakfast, June 6, 2015;  9 - 11 AM; South West DeKalb High School, 2863 Chapel Road, Decatur;

  • Veterans' Job Fair, June 9, 2015; 10 AM - 2 PM; Columbus Convention and Trade Center, 801 Front Avenue, Columbus;

  • Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce 2015 Business Expo, June 11, 2015; 3 - 7 PM; Hilton Savannah Desoto, Savannah;

  • 2015 Career Expo, June 11, 2015; 9:00 AM - Noon; First United Methodist Church of Lawrenceville, 395 West Crogan Street, Lawrenceville;

  • H.O.P.E for Homeowners, June 27, 2015; 10 AM - 2 PM; Virginia Gray Recreation Center, 1475 E. Fayetteville Road, Riverdale 

September 25
: The 2015 Neighborhood Summit will take place on Saturday, September 26, 2015 at the Georgia International Convention Center.  The 2015 Neighborhood Summit theme is "Embracing the Power of Education."  The Neighborhood Summit is presented by The Neighborhood Fund, an initiative of The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta.  MORE


Susan Adams

Piece by Piece Coordinator