GA HOME SAFE – New Program

Important HomeSafe Georgia News

On September 28th the Georgia Department of Community Affairs announced the launch of Underwater Georgia, a new HomeSafe initiative specifically targeted to the approximately 150,000 Georgians who owe more than their homes are worth. Homeowners approved through Underwater Georgia can receive a one-time payment of up to $50,000 to reduce the principal balance on their home. In addition to providing information about Underwater Georgia – without doubt the most significant and potentially impactful HomeSafe program modification to date – this document also chronicles other important activity associated with HomeSafe that has occurred since the January 2016 publication of HomeSafe Georgia – Making the Most of a Valuable Resource, which documented and analyzed HomeSafe’s application intake, approval and disbursement history and made recommendations for program modification and expansion.

[1] Information in this section from DCA Memo: New Mortgage Assistance program to Launch September 28th, and Underwater Georgia Mortgage Principal Reduction Aid Communications Toolkit, September 22, 2106.
[2] See Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program,, September 12, 2016.
[3] See Atlanta Journal Constitution,, by Tamar Hallerman, September 13, 2016.
[4] See (HousingWire, Treasury Boosting Hardest Hit Funds by $2 billion, Ben Lane, February 19, 2016) and See (US Treasury, Treasury Announces Allocation of Final $1 Billion Among Hardest Hit Fund States, April 20, 2016).

William H. McFarland
Relationship Manager, Georgia ACT
Project Director, Housing Georgia
404 – 586 -0740 (office)
404-790-6607 (cell)

Atlanta foreclosures down, still high

Foreclosures continue to decline in metro Atlanta, yet the region remains one of the nation’s leaders in the category. During the 12 months ending in May, there were 14,340 completed foreclosures in metro Atlanta, the second-highest number among big U.S. metro areas behind only Tampa-St. Petersburg at 17,044, according to CoreLogic, a California-based real estate research firm. Metro Atlanta’s total was down from more than 20,000 completed foreclosures in the prior 12-month period, according to CoreLogic.

The region’s progress tracks the trend in the national housing market, where completed foreclosures fell 19.2 percent from a year earlier. Among states, Georgia had the sixth -highest number at 26,523 completed foreclosures. The top five were Florida (104,000), Michigan (46,000), Texas (33,000), California (28,000) and Ohio (27,000).

Foreclosures became an epidemic after the burst of the housing bubble in 2006-2007, a collapse followed by plunging prices and a financial crisis that led to a devastating recession – which in further undermined housing.

A flood of foreclosures followed, virtually destroying the market for housing in many areas. Home values in many parts of metro Atlanta have yet to return to pre-recession levels. But as foreclosures recede, the market can build momentum. “With three million jobs created during the past year, the improving labor market has helped more borrowers stay current on their mortgage loan,” said Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “Because fewer loans are becoming seriously delinquent, the foreclosure inventory has come down to its lowest level in more than seven years, with only 1.3 percent of loans in foreclosure proceedings.” In metro Atlanta, 3.4 percent of mortgages are in serious delinquency, vs. 4.4 percent a year ago, according to CoreLogic.

Down but not OUT!

Underwater Atlanta March 17 at the Carter Center

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.

SAVE THE DATE: 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. MORE | REGISTER

Haas Institute’s “Underwater America”

Full Report | Atlanta Overview | Georgia Overview

Georgia lags in foreclosure help

Georgia lags in foreclosure help

State says it will meet goal of aiding at-risk homeowners.

By Dan Chapman 

   Georgia, given $340 million in federal money three years ago to help at-risk homeowners, has spent only a quarter of the money, according to a newly released Inspector General’s report critical of the state’s efforts to ease the foreclosure crisis.   Only Indiana and Alabama have dispensed proportionately less.   About 5,900 Georgians fewer than one-third the number initially estimated have received assistance intended to save homes and neighborhoods.

   “It’s very concerning that we’re more than half way through the program and the funds will have go back to the Treasury if not used by 2017,” said Kristen Tullos, an attorney with Atlanta Legal Aid Society, which assists homeowners facing foreclosure. “We are not on track at this point.”   But the state Department of Community Affairs, which administers the so-called “hardest hit fund,” said this week that Georgia will meet its foreclosure target.  “We’ve turned the corner, and we’re definitely on track to spend all the funds by Dec. 31, 2017,” said Brenda McGee, the program’s director. The Great Recession killed hundreds of thousands of Georgia jobs and left homeowners unable to pay mortgages. Nearly a quarter million metro Atlanta households plunged into foreclosure since 2006. neighborhoods primarily across the region’s southern tier, as well as in Gwinnett County, deteriorated as vandalism, blight and weeds took root. 2010 was the foreclosure nadir across metro Atlanta with 93,000 foreclosure notices.   As the economy improved, and unemployment dropped, foreclosures plummeted. Metro Atlanta should see fewer than 20,000 foreclosures this year as the region returns to pre-recession levels of housing distress. But the scars to communities and homeowners — remain. And Georgia maintains the nation’s highest unemployment rate.

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HUD Training and Information Updates

New Presentation Added to the HUD Office of Housing Counseling (OHC) Webinar Archives: Visit the OHC Webinar Archive to view all the past training presentations.

  • Original air date: November 18, 2014 – HECM Counseling Protocol “We can make it better”. The purpose of this stakeholder meeting was to seek Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), counseling agency stakeholder ideas and feedback on how to make the current HECM protocol more efficient and effective. Replay number: (800) 475-6701, Access Code: 337608. View the presentation.

New Training Updates for Housing Counselors: 

  1. HUD Training for Housing Counselors: Visit the HUD Office of Housing Counseling (OHC) Training Calendar on-line. Visit the OHC Webinar Archive to view archival copies of past training events. Visit FHA’s Webinar Archive to view training on insured mortgage programs like HECM, 203K, non-profit programs, disaster recovery and much more. 
  • HUD Exchange: HUD has launched an online curriculum, including video, dynamic presentations and self-paced training modules, designed to help HUD partners understand Federal financial requirements. The HUD Exchange Training and Events website also has many other courses and training opportunities of interest to non-profit and local government agencies. Visit HUD Exchange to learn more and register for training opportunities.
  •  December 02, 2014 – HECM Protocol Stakeholder Meetings: Sponsored by HUD’s Office of Housing Counseling. The purpose of this stakeholder meeting is to seek HECM counseling agency stakeholder ideas and feedback on how to make the current HECM protocol more efficient and effective.  Attendance is very limited for both of this meeting, Register today. This session is for local agencies. Register on-line.
  1. IRS Educational Training for Exempt Organizations: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offers training for non-profit organizations. Visit their website to view the IRS training calendar.  The IRS provides training for tax-exempt organizations and charitable organizations seeking tax-exempt status at: The site includes information for new applicants; information to help existing exempt organizations maintain their exemption; and more in-depth topics. Also View the IRS webinar course catalog for workshops you can take on-line. Training dates include:
  • December 09, 2014 – Austin, TX
  • January 9, 2014 – Salt Lake City, UT
  • May 12, 2015 – St. Louis, MO
  • May 14, 2015 – Springfield, MO

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Complete Housing Counselor Survey by October 27!

Housing counselor survey now online; deadline is Oct. 27      

All organizations should complete the online housing-counselor survey by Oct. 27. The survey, available on the online reporting system, was first fielded earlier this year and now is being repeated quarterly.  To allow you to complete it quickly and easily, it is automatically populated with your prior responses. Simply remember to edit the list of counselors, add any new hires and remove any individuals no longer employed. The survey will help us gauge training needs for the new counselor-certification regulations.

Help for Underwater FHA Mortgage Holders

Intent to Extend FHA Refinances of Borrowers in Negative Equity Positions

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is aware that  the “FHA Refinances of Borrowers in Negative Equity Positions” program authorized by Mortgagee Letter (ML) 2010-23 is due to expire on December 31, 2014.  This program supports refinances for borrowers who owe more than the current value of their home and plays an important role in helping to realign property values and mortgage obligations for sustainable long-term homeownership.  It is currently the intention of the Department to offer an extension of that program.  A Mortgagee Letter extending the program and announcing any program changes will be issued at a later date.

Learn More

  • Call the FHA Resource Center at 1-800-CALLFHA (1-800-225-5342). Persons with hearing or speech impairments may reach this number by calling the Federal Information Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339.
  • Email the FHA Resource Center at Emails and phone messages will be responded to during normal hours of operation, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., ET, Monday through Friday on all non-Federal holidays.
  • Visit our online resource information at


FHA INFO Archives: Visit the FHA INFO Archives to access FHA INFO messages issued from 2012 to the present.
Have FHA Questions? For FHA technical support, please search the FHA Frequently Asked Questions site or contact the FHA Resource Center by email at: or by telephone toll free between 8:00 AM & 8:00 PM ET at: (800) CALLFHA or (800) 225-5342.  Persons with hearing or speech impairments may access this number via TTY by calling the Federal Information Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.



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