Piece by Piece Update

January 2016





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


Negative Equity Still a Drag on US Housing Market
Atlanta Ranks Third Nationally

(Courtesy of The Financial): Negative equity is one of the most persistent reminders of the housing market crash. Homeowners who owe more on their mortgage than their homes are worth cannot sell, which holds back markets from recovering.

Typically, negative equity rates will be close to 2-5 percent. Today, eight years after the housing crash, it remains a major barrier to a full recovery in certain markets.   Metro Atlanta has the third largest share of underwater homeowners (18.6%) in the country, following Las Vegas and Chicago.
Largest Share of Underwater Homeowners
Las Vegas, NV - 22.1 percent
Chicago, IL - 20.6 percent
Atlanta, GA - 18.6 percent
St. Louis, MO - 17.6 percent
Baltimore, MD - 16.9 percent

Housing Assistance Council Releases New Website with Comprehensive Veteran Data
(Courtesy of NHC; Kaitlyn Snyder): The Housing Assistance Council has also released Veterans Data Central, a website that provides essential information on the social, economic and housing characteristics of veterans in the United States.  There are 690,208 veterans living in Georgia, representing 9.5% of the adult population in the state.  Housing affordability is the greatest housing problem among veterans. Roughly 25.3 percent of Georgia veterans pay too much for their housing.  MORE  |  Georgia Veteran Data

Note: We have observed some intermittent connectivity issues with this data site. We have notified the site developer. 

HUD Publishes New Resources for the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule
The availability of the Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) was published on December 31, 2015. This AFH Assessment Tool is for use by local governments that receive CDBG, HOME, ESG, or HOPWA formula funding from HUD, and for joint and regional collaborations between: (1) local governments and (2) one or more local governments with one or more public housing agencies. HUD has also provided guidance in the form of the  Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule Guidebook and has updated the  AFFH Data and Mapping Tool.

FHFA Releases Duty to Serve Proposed Rule

(Courtesy of NHC; Kaitlyn Snyder): In December, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) released the Duty to Serve proposed rule. The Duty to Serve requires Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to increase their secondary market activities to help very low-, low- and moderate-income families buy or rent a home. FHFA hosted a webinar on December 22.  Presentation  |  Transcript

FY2016 Congressional Budget Deal Restores and Increases HOME Program

(Courtesy of NHC): In mid-December, the House and Senate passed the omnibus spending bill for FY 2016. Many programs saw slight increases in funding compared to last year, but overall funding is essentially flat, especially when considered relative to rising housing costs. Of note, the HUD HOME program, which the Senate proposed cutting from $900 million to $66 million, was restored and increased to $950 million.  MORE

CAP Releases "Opportunity Agenda" for Renters
(Courtesy of Center for American Progress): As the nation grapples with severe and worsening inequality, ensuring that opportunity is not limited by where a person lives is of utmost importance.  To achieve this goal, the Center for American Progress (CAP) urges a two-pronged approach. Policies need to both promote residential mobility and a deconcentration of poverty while also supporting reinvestment in racially segregated and economically impoverished neighborhoods. Doing so will help transform these neighborhoods into healthy communities where residents have access to the basic building blocks of opportunity: high-quality housing, jobs, good schools, transportation, and health care. 
Some key recommendations from CAP:
* Use tax policy to increase the supply of affordable rental housing
* Eliminate restrictive and exclusionary zoning that keeps households out of high-opportunity neighborhoods
* Fund the federal housing voucher program in order to better equip it with tools to help households access high-opportunity neighborhoods
* Maintain single-family rentals as a source of affordable housing

Down Payment Resource CEO Receives HousingWire Vanguard Award
Atlanta-based Down Payment Resource CEO (and Piece by Piece Partner) Rob Chrane was honored with the HousingWire Vanguard Award for his success in solving a long-standing housing industry issue: Create a way for homebuyers and real estate professionals to find accurate information about the many homeownership programs that are available in every community across the country.  The inaugural awards program recognizes 27 executives leading the housing economy.  Award winners are featured in the December/January issue of HousingWire.  MORE

Rental Report Released by Joint Center for Housing Studies
(Courtesy of NHC; Kaitlyn Snyder): In December, the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University released its biennial report, "America's Rental Housing: Expanding Option for Diverse and Growing Demand." Between 2005 and 2015, the renter population increased by nearly nine million, the largest growth of any 10-year period on record. While the stereotypical image of a renter is a millennial, the researchers found that the growth in demand has been broad based across income groups, household types and ages.   

Full Report  | Interactive Map  | Washington Post 


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

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

  • January 30 9 AM - 1 PM; Home Ownership and Small Business Development Resource Fair, at the City of Lithonia Government Center located at 6920 Main Street, Lithonia.
  • February 27 11:00 AM - 7:00 PM; The Black Family Expo, held at the Georgia International Convention Center, 2000 Convention Center Concourse, Atlanta.

Feb. 3- Georgia ACT Annual Member Meeting, Macon, GA.  The Annual Member Meeting is open to everyone in or interested in the housing and community development field: housing developers, housing counselors, neighborhood leaders, funders, bankers, board members, staff of city and county housing and community development agencies and land bank authorities, and similar entities.  REGISTRATION

March 3- The 13th Annual GREFPAC Conference will be held at the Cobb Galleria. Featured speakers from the FBI, GA Department of Banking & Finance, Fannie Mae, HUD, among others.  Cost to attend is $50 per person and includes lunch and parking is free.  Details and sign-up are available on our website at    

March 8- Housing Day at Georgia Capitol; Plan to join Georgia ACT at the Capitol to advocate for more housing resources. In preparation for Housing Day, make sure you know your state lawmakers.  Go to and enter your home address to identify your state senator and state representative and their contact information.  Georgia ACT will share more details at their Annual Member Meeting on February 3rd.  

April 28-29- Gaining community acceptance for affordable housing has long been a sticking point in developing successful communitiesNHC's Solutions for Housing Communications 2016 Convening will connect affordable housing developers, advocates, funders and government officials for panels, workshops and round-table discussions on challenges and opportunities in community acceptance. Together we will learn and engage, discovering best practices for countering community opposition and exploring creative new approaches to meeting this perennial challenge. MORE



Susan Adams

Piece by Piece Coordinator