The Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco allotted $10 million dollars to two housing-related programs: Workforce Initiative Subsidiary for Homeownership and the Individual Development and Empowerment Account.
Both organizations help low- to moderate-income families and individuals buy homes, the FHLBank San Francisco said. WISH helps people transition from renting to owning, whereas IDEA is directed at homebuyers who have been saving for the purchase of their first home through an Individual Development Account or through a participating local housing authority, the federal bank explained.
Tom Roeser is on a one-man mission to save Carpentersville, Ill., from falling into the fate of so many post-industrial Midwestern towns, where neighborhoods have become littered with vacant, foreclosed homes.
Over the past several years, the 60-year-old president and co-owner of the town's largest employer, a maker of switches and communications gear called Otto Engineering, has bought 193 foreclosed homes, completely rehabilitated them and is either selling or renting them at a discount to local residents.
The 15 employees of the Southwest Organizing Project, a nonprofit community group on Chicago's Southwest Side, are housed in a small, shared office space when they aren't out in the community.
They are out a lot in the neighborhoods, ones particularly hard-hit by the housing crisis.
The way they've approached housing issues, as well as other concerns in Chicago Lawn, West Lawn, Gage Park, West Elsdon and Ashburn just garnered them international recognition from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
The Southwest Organizing Project, known locally as SWOP, was selected as one of 13 groups in five countries last week to receive the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.
ESSENTIAL DUTIES/RESPONSIBILITIES • Supervise grant application review process including: drafting Funding Announcement, notifying eligible applicants of their ability to participate in the program, drafting grant application, recommending scoring criteria, and working with Information Management Division to program application and grant review pages into NeighborWorks’ online grant application system. • Develop and manage process for grant application review. Provide support, guidance, and oversight to application review teams. Develop objective method for determining award amounts. • Train grantees (via WebEx and other methods) to ensure understanding of program requirements. • Conduct debriefings with applicants to help them understand funding decisions. • Work with Office of General Counsel to draft Grant Agreements. Oversee execution of agreements and timely payment of funds to grantees.
Mortgage assistance program Keep Your Home California now has more than 100 mortgage servicers participating in the program, offering ways for distressed homeowners to stay in their homes.
By adding more servicers, the federally funded program can help more homeowners in the state struggling to pay their mortgages because of financial hardships, according to a news release from Keep Your Home California.
Homeowners can be eligible for help through four programs, though not all of the 101 mortgage servicers participate in all four.
The programs include help in case of job loss, help catching up on past payments due to hardship, principal reduction and transition assistance, in cases where the homeowner needs help relocating when they can’t keep their home.
This great statement on housing from Econ4 hits all the right notes, particularly the line “We oppose treating the nation’s housing as a bundle of assets to be sliced, diced, flipped, and bailed out in pursuit of inflated profits and bonuses.” This is really the original sin that caused the crisis. As a result of all that money to be made in securitization, banks enthusiastically wrote more and more loans to feed the machine. They realized at some point that the intensity of transfers would leave them exposed to local county recording costs, so they created MERS to save on those costs and put the transfer system outside oversight. Predictably, this led to sloppy transfers and actual violations of the securitization rules, which banks then covered up through foreclosure fraud. It all stems back to turning housing stock into assets.
Lots of people must be credited with getting to the bottom of this scam, but perhaps nobody is more responsible than Thomas Cox. He was the former bank lawyer – he specialized in foreclosures – who volunteered to help Pine Tree Legal Assistance in Maine, a nonprofit just starting up a foreclosure defense project.
Given this landscape, why did banks determine that it was acceptable to shareholder interests to disregard due diligence and other legal standards? Consider the risks the banks heaped on their shareholders (especially our pensions and state investments) by neglecting their legal obligations during the inflation of the most recent housing bubble.
The same arrogance, ignorance and greed that inflated the bubble also popped it, but the Fed’s desperately low interest rates won’t be a refinancing bonanza for banks, as some predict. Too many problems remain: we have failed to deal with exaggerated appraisals underlying the stinky mortgages and the refinancing deals. We have failed to deal with the losses to the banks resulting from bundling and the creation of "nothing-backed" securities. The banks continue to use false appraisals and "stated income" applications in the refinance process without requisite due diligence or compliance with traditional underwriting limitations. And we don't yet know the effect of a bogus refinancing will be, when the bank doing the refinancing doesn't own the loan or even have authority to refinance it.
Catholic Charities Housing Services has received a $395,563 grant from the state to help homeowners at risk of foreclosure.
The nonprofit group plans to use the money to hire an additional counselor focused entirely on foreclosure prevention and mediation and a part-time program assistant, according to a news release from Catholic Charities Housing Services.
The group provides its counseling services at no cost to homeowners.
"Our goal is to ensure that homeowners have access to the full-range of resources and programs available to help them stay in their homes," Bryan Ketcham, director of Catholic Charities Housing Services, said in the release. "We anticipate that we will be able to double the population that we are currently serving through our housing counseling program upon receiving this funding."
That became the rallying cry as the local activist community — with a huge assist from social media — mobilized to save one of its own from foreclosure.
Rain Burroughs had fallen behind on the payments for her Oregon Hill dwelling. She had lost bankruptcy protection and learned that her home would be auctioned off Thursday by the Virginia Housing Development Authority if she didn't come up with nearly $13,000.
Burroughs and her ailing 12-year-old daughter, Summer, began packing.
Over the past four years, Bruce Marks has been on a traveling road show to help people avoid foreclosure. His nonprofit, the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America, has held more than 80 events in cities around the country. So far, Marks says, NACA has helped 202,000 people get their payments lowered so they can afford to keep their homes.
"The banks now reach out to their borrowers, to their customers, to come to the NACA Save the Dream events so they're doing that because it makes business sense for them," Marks says.
He says he has figured out how to get this broken system to work better. In each city, he rents out a big convention center. All the big banks — Wells Fargo, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase — send teams of people, sometimes several hundred bank employees altogether. They can approve loan modifications on the spot for homeowners who show up and qualify.
Apart from completing applications to save clients a $206 court fee and beginning to fill out their motions to delay foreclosure, Haddad said she handles the emotion and confusion that sometimes comes with appearing in court for the first time.
During a recent meeting, she circled upcoming court dates and explained, "A motion is just a fancy word for a request."
She also described mediation as a negotiation process to lower monthly mortgage payments for those in financial need.
"This is what is going to save your home," she told one person.
Many times, lawyers like Haddad become the first attorney a client facing foreclosure will meet. But as homeowners navigate through what may be a two-year process to save their homes, they likely will consult a host of other attorneys, many of whom volunteer their services on a pro bono basis.
Florida has been ground zero for foreclosure fraud, but even with multibillion-dollar settlements and federal consent orders, the state's financial services industry may face new scrutiny from a community activist who's taken a critical look at the industry and its practices.
Lisa Epstein, who's running for clerk of court in Palm Beach County, was once an oncology nurse. For most of her career she saw her patients strike deals with their banks when they ran into debt problems, particularly with mortgage payments, once they became ill.
But when the housing crisis struck and foreclosures mounted, that changed. Banks and mortgage servicers overloaded with delinquent loans struggled with the paperwork and the complexity of linking struggling borrowers with decision-makers. To speed up the foreclosure process, reams of documentation was mishandled, signed improperly and filed at county courthouses.
Lost Our Home Pet Foundation, Inc. was founded in 2008 as a grassroots response to the thousands of pets in need as a result of the economic downturn in general, and the Phoenix-area foreclosure crisis in particular.
The economic crisis has consequences for the state’s homeowners and workers, but it also has consequences—sometimes fatal—for the thousands of dogs and cats that are so often abandoned, relinquished to area shelters, or underfed.
LOH is the only organization in the Valley dedicated to rescuing pets abandoned, or at risk of homelessness, due to foreclosure, eviction, or other financial hardship.
Shelby is a precious senior dog who was left behind in a foreclosure for who knows how long until the police found her there. She is emaciated and has a bad case of arthritis and neurological problems. She has a lot of vet bills in her future, and we are very lucky that one of our own rescued her from Orange County Animal Services right before her deadline, she had her time extended twice there. Any donations for Shelby's medical needs would be greatly appreciated. Please contact me via message on here for information on how to help this baby who is living out what time she has left in a loving home!
Look closely at the paperwork if you ever get foreclosed on. It could pay off.
That's what Lynn Szymoniak learned when her bank foreclosed on her Palm Beach Gardens home in 2008. Szymoniak, an attorney and renowned expert in foreclosure law, was suspicious of the way foreclosures were being conducted in Florida, so she started looking at documents. Eventually she made headlines when she found that the paperwork in tens of thousands of other foreclosure cases seemed to be fraudulent.
Now, as multiple sources have reported, Szymoniak is getting $18 million as a result of her investigative efforts -- part of a $95 million settlement paid out by Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Citigroup. That's just one component of the $25 billion mortgage settlement filed earlier this week on behalf of those four banks and Ally Financial.
Ninety-seven California community groups, led by the California Reinvestment Coalition (CRC), have submitted a detailed comment letter to Acting Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Edward J. DeMarco demanding changes to the FHFA's foreclosure policies, or his immediate resignation. The 97 groups are united in their concern about homeowners and tenants being displaced by FHFA's damaging policies. The coalition believes that the FHFA, under the guidance of DeMarco, has failed to prioritize the needs of homeowners who are struggling to make their mortgage payments. As the conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, FHFA controls nearly 60 percent of all home loans nationwide.
Is there a house in your neighborhood that everybody hates to walk past? You know, the one with broken and boarded up windows, trash left to gather on the lawn, and grass so overgrown it's becoming a habitat for rodents?
If you have a house like that in your community, you know it's more than just an eyesore. Neglected, vacant houses depress property values throughout the community, and can threaten health and safety. They erode the sense of community and stability that creates vibrant localities, and they hamper economic resiliency. With a national foreclosure crisis still in full swing, such houses are all too common.
You might be surprised to learn, though, that if you have problem properties like that in your neighborhood, there's a good chance your absentee neighbor is a bank.
“We are allowing an erosion of everything America holds dear,” Epstein told me in a phone interview from Palm Beach County, Florida, where she will challenge a two-term incumbent for Clerk of Court in a Democratic primary on August 14. “Not just property rights, due process rights – a right guaranteed by the Constitution – and basic fairness. But contract rights. The idea that when you make a contract with a party with superior power and influence, they can’t just make things up and lie, especially when an essential need of survival is at stake. Putting myself at risk is not as important as standing up and saying it was wrong.”