Piece by Piece Update

November 2015





Please take note of the following news and calendar updates:


FHFA Announces Expansion of Neighborhood Stabilization Initiative (NSI); Atlanta Selected as One of 18 New NSI Markets

(Courtesy of FHFA/NHC) - The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) this month announced an expansion of the Neighborhood Stabilization Initiative (NSI) to 18 additional metropolitan areas around the country, including Atlanta. Effective Dec. 1, local community organizations will be given the opportunity to review and purchase foreclosed properties owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac in these 18 additional metropolitan areas prior to these properties being made publicly available for purchase. Sales prices will vary from market to market. A full list of the 18 metropolitan areas is available here. NSI was launched as a pilot program in Detroit in 2014 and expanded to Cook County, Ill., earlier this year.  Many thanks to Piece by Piece partners who contacted the FHFA Director Mel Watt requesting metro Atlanta's inclusion in the NSI. MORE

Three Metro Counties Sue Bank of America
(Courtesy of AJC): Three metro Atlanta counties claim in a lawsuit that Bank of America and related companies resorted to abusive mortgage lending practices that targeted black and Latino homeowners. They seek "hundreds of millions of dollars" in damages to offset lost tax revenue and other public costs they claim stemmed from the practices.  Fulton, DeKalb and Cobb counties allege that the bank and its subsidiaries, Countrywide Financial and Merrill Lynch, steered borrowers into high-cost "subprime" mortgages, stripped them of their equity with high fees and interest charges, and drove them into foreclosure. MORE
How to Prevent the Next Mortgage Crisis
Dan Immergluck for Shelterforce Magazine
(Courtesy of Shelterforce): To avoid future catastrophes, we must build a fairer and more stable housing finance system that is less at the mercy of the booms and busts of global finance. Housing finance is fundamental to determining access to stable, decent-quality, and affordable housing. It can also be a major driver of metropolitan sprawl, residential segregation, and the quality of housing conditions-especially for our most vulnerable citizens.  Housing finance reform should be fundamentally aimed at generating sound, affordable, and fair mortgage markets. I propose a "public option" for housing finance that utilizes private capital, but channeled through a publicly owned, unifying infrastructure that purchases and securitizes all mortgages eligible for federal backing.  MORE
City of Atlanta Needs to Boost Workforce Housing
Gunter Sounds Call for Housing Opportunity Bond Program 

(Courtesy of Bruce Gunter for Atlanta Business Chronicle): In a city (and society) of widening separation of rich and poor, workforce housing helps to diminish the income gap, deconcentrate poverty, and reduce traffic congestion, if properly located. High-quality workforce housing is sorely called for in Atlanta.And also by the Beltline. In fact, the original charter of the Beltline mandates that 20 percent of the total units in any housing development funded by or on land sold by the Beltline be workforce housing.  There is just one problem: none of the programs the policy wonks and planners promote are funded at anywhere near adequacy, nor does the Beltline currently have any funds to back its own mandate.  Funded at $40 million, a Housing Opportunity Bond program really could jump start the Beltline's housing program; it could deliver acquisition funding to the Land Bank Authority; and it could serve to provide catalytic investment in the likes of Turner Field, the Westside, and Oakland City. MORE


HUD Releases 2015 Homelessness Assessment Report, Shows Decline in Veteran Homelessness
(Courtesy of HUD): HUD Secretary Julián Castro recently announced HUD's latest national one-night estimate of homelessness, highlighting a continuing decline across the nation. HUD's 2015 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress found that there has been an overall 11 percent decrease and 26 percent drop in the unsheltered homeless population since 2010, when President Obama launched Opening Doors, the nation's first-ever comprehensive strategy to prevent and end homelessness. Between 2010 and January 2015, veteran homelessness declined 36 percent, family homelessness declined 19 percent, and chronic homelessness declined 22 percent. MORE

Virginia First State to End Veteran Homelessness 

(Courtesy of Enteprise Capital Express): Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe recently joined HUD Secretary Castro to announce that his state had become the first to "effectively end" veteran homelessness. Virginia provided housing to over 1,400 homeless veterans last year, more than twice the 620 identified in the January homeless count. Previously, several cities had made similar declarations, including New Orleans and Salt Lake City, but Virginia is the first to achieve the goal statewide. MORE

To further reduce veteran homelessness around the country, First Lady Michelle Obama has called on landlords and property owners to make vacant apartments available to homeless veterans. MORE

DID YOU KNOW? Atlanta has had Open Doors Atlanta program in place since late 2012. Read more below.

Open Doors Atlanta - Partnership to End Homelessness for  Veterans and Families

Open Doors, a program of the Atlanta Real Estate Collaborative (AREC), recruits private-market housing properties willing to rent to households with rental barriers such as a past eviction, low-income, or bad credit often due to extenuating circumstances such as an illness, divorce, or another unfortunate situation.  Open Doors partners with service providers that help individuals and families experiencing homelessness to find permanent housing.  Over 2,000 households have been placed in Open Doors partner properties through various housing programs since late 2012, with the majority being veterans and families with children.   For more information, please contact program director Matt Hurd at or visit their website at

Atlanta-Based Down Payment Resource and Homes for Heroes Connect Veterans to Home Subsidy Programs

Down Payment Resource and Homes for Heroes are working together so any 'hero' homebuyer will see additional savings and discounts they may be eligible for when buying a home. Now, when consumers using Down Payment Resource identify themselves as a firefighter, active military or veteran, law enforcement, teacher or healthcare worker, they will see a Homes for Heroes link next to their homeownership program results. It will take them to the Homes for Heroes website so they can investigate rebates, savings and other discounts available to them when buying, selling or refinancing a home. MORE

Affordable Rentals Key to Strengthening Economy
(Courtesy of Pam Patenaude; Housing Wire): Pamela Patenaude of the Terwilliger Foundation says that tackling the turmoil in the rental housing market is the key to stabilizing the broader housing market and improving the economy. Rising rents are having a cascading effect on single-family-home sales and market growth, since many first-time homebuyers are unable to save up a downpayment. Patenaude argues that without intervention, the rental market will continue to drag down the economy, writing, "Increasing the supply of affordable rental homes through a heightened commitment to policy tools like the low-income housing tax credit should be priority number one." MORE
Mortgage Redlining Settlement with Hudson Bank is Largest of its Kind
(Courtesy of New York Times): Hudson City Savings Bank, while denying wrongdoing, agreed last month to pay nearly $33 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Justice Department. Federal officials said it was the largest settlement in the history of both departments for redlining, the practice in which banks choke off lending to minority communities.Outlawed decades ago, redlining has re-emerged as a serious concern among regulators as banks have sharply retreated from providing home loans to African-Americans in the wake of the financial crisis. The Justice Department now has more active redlining investigations underway than at any other time in the past seven years, officials said. MORE

Memphis City Council Passes "Mow to Own" Program 
(Courtesy of Commercial Appeal): The Memphis City Council recently approved an ordinance that establishes a mow-to-own program, giving the city and its residents another tool to eradicate blight.  The ordinance, sponsored by Councilman Berlin Boyd, is an avenue for property owners to mow an adjoining city- or county-owned vacant lot to earn credits toward buying it.  With the ordinance now approved, Boyd said he'll convene the ad hoc committee that developed the program to iron out the details. He hopes to have it up and running in January.  MORE
Indiana Program Builds Homes for Vets on Abandoned Lots (Courtesy of Center for Community Progress; Indianapolis Recorder)
A new initiative called Home For Good is packing a two-fold punch: providing military families housing while helping neighborhoods get rid of blight.  The Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs has partnered with the Mapleton-Fall Creek Development Corporation (MFCDC) to launch this program that aims to build affordable homes on abandoned lots for qualifying veterans and their families to purchase. MORE


Share your calendar items with us! Please email Susan Adams at with news of your upcoming events.
December 2; 9:30 - 11:45 AM; Atlanta Regional Housing Forum, Loudermilk Center, 40 Courtland Street, Atlanta, GA 30303. In the next decade, the homes we build, where we build them, and how they are financed will greatly determine metro Atlanta's future. With increasing need for affordability, declining federal resources, and existing programs that are light on funding and heavy on restrictions, advocates say now is the time to solidify the vision for housing affordability in metro Atlanta. The region needs a new, flexible and permanent source of local funding.  REGISTER NOW

December 10; 2  PM to 3 PM; NHC Free Webinar --- Learn about the Housing and Service Needs of Our Veteran Population REGISTER NOW




Susan Adams

Piece by Piece Coordinator