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, https://www.sigtarp.gov/Audit%20Engagement%20Memorandums/Engagement_Memo_GA_Hardest_Hit_Fund_Audit.pdf, September 12, 2016.
[3] See Atlanta Journal Constitution, http://politics.blog.ajc.com/2016/09/13/feds-to-audit-foreclosure-aid-program-in-several-atlanta-area-counties/, by Tamar Hallerman, September 13, 2016.
[4] See http://www.housingwire.com/articles/36326-treasury-boosting-hardest-hit-fund-by-2-billion-extends-program-to-2020 (HousingWire, Treasury Boosting Hardest Hit Funds by $2 billion, Ben Lane, February 19, 2016) and See https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl0434.aspx (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)

A Call to Action by Georgia ACT

Last month Fannie Mae announced its new affordable mortgage product, HomeReadyTM, which replaces MyCommunityMortgage. Targeted to low- and moderate-income borrowers, it requires an online homebuyer education course. Called Framework, the course will be provided by Housing Partnership Network and the Minnesota Homeownership Center.  Although this is a notable step forward in making housing counseling more accessible to potential buyers, what impact will this have on local housing counseling agencies?

Does this move by Fannie Mae and a similar move by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta portend a change in the landscape?  Is housing counseling undergoing a transformation as counseling moves to online sources?  National online alternative options such as ClearPoint and Framework appear to offer 24/7 access, standardization, quality assurance, and low cost. Technology and online platforms are changing housing counseling processes from intake to service delivery, so what is the role of local nonprofit agencies? How can such agencies remain viable?

The Georgia ACT conference on October 28th offers housing counselors the opportunity to convene and discuss how best to adapt to this changing environment.  Registration is now open. Go to http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=64yzoxjab&oeidk=a07ebgxzs3ed7e957ad

GA ACT Survey – Please Complete by 9/15/15

Good Afternoon, Georgia Advancing Communities Together, Inc. is a statewide membership organization dedicated to building a strong network of housing and community development organizations to benefit lower-income Georgians and underserved communities. We act as a clearinghouse for information and action to advance the field of housing and community economic development through our annual conference, training, peer mentoring, and advocacy on public policy. Your participation in this survey is critical to supporting the future growth and stability of the nonprofit housing and community development sector and the ability to compete in the face of diminished resources. This survey will give us a snapshot of your organization’s current position and abilities. We will use this information to create support for increased capital resources and for industry policies that enable greater community impact. You should be able to complete this survey in 20 minutes. If you get interrupted, you can save your completed responses and come back to finish the survey. Having the following information available may help you complete the survey quickly: · Housing development portfolio · Most recent 990 · Housing counseling/financial literacy data We need your completed survey by Friday, August 14, 2015. Follow the link below to take the survey today and help us show collective impact! Start Survey Thank You Kate Little Georgia Advancing Communities Together, Inc. 250 Georgia Avenue, SE, Suite 350 Atlanta, GA 30312 404/586-0740 klittle@georgiaact.org We have moved. Please note new address and email.

The Undeniable Benefits of Housing Counseling Are Worth Every Cent

The case for the widespread use of housing counseling in America’s residential housing marketplace is both simple and straightforward: virtually everyone who has a hand in the construction, financing and sale of an American home today is made better by the presence of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-certified housing counseling at some point within the process, whether it takes place months before the purchase of a home, or even in the weeks and months after moving day. Pre- and-post purchase housing counseling performed by HUD-certified professionals leads to better-performing loans made to better-qualified borrowers in practically every economic class, and stronger communities with healthier economies and far fewer foreclosures.

Continue reading

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

RECOMMENDED READING:
Haas Institute’s “Underwater America”

Full Report | Atlanta Overview | Georgia Overview

BestBank Helps Consumers Build Credit While Saving Money…

BestBank offers a unique program to help consumers build credit while saving money. See details from BestBank on their Credit Builder Loan program.

See details below on the Credit Builder Loan program.  Great opportunity for your clients!

What is it?

Credit Builder is a personal loan secured by a certificate of deposit (CD). This positions you to help your credit history by proving that you can reliably pay back a loan on time. Plus, all principal paid, you get to keep as savings.

No money down and no fees.

The best part of Credit Builder is how easy it is to get started. There’s no down payment or fees. You simply make your monthly loan payments on time, and we take care of the rest.

How to get started.

Visit your local branch and talk to a banker!

https://www.bestbank.com/Loans/CreditBuilder.aspx

 

Standards and goals that are focused!

Analysis:

The study below shows the direct benefit of pre-purchase counseling for home buyers. How group education (two hour course), one on one counseling, and financial literacy, can and will lead to successful buyers and home owners. This study also shows both the short term and long term benefit to meeting the specific need(s) of the participant, while establishing standards and goals (counseling) for the outcomes (coaching).

I recommend reading the full report. Anthony Mitchell

The Effectiveness of Pre-Purchase Homeownership Counseling and Financial Management Skills.  Homeownership remains a cherished goal for many people. However, developments in mortgage products and drastic changes in the housing market have made the realization of becoming a homeowner more challenging. Fortunately, homeownership counseling is available to help navigate prospective homebuyers in their quest. But the effectiveness of such counseling over time continues to be contemplated. Previous studies have made important strides in our understanding of the value of homeownership counseling, but more work is needed. More specifically, homeownership education and counseling have never been rigorously evaluated through a randomized field experiment.

This study is based on a long-term (five-year) effort undertaken by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia on the effectiveness of pre-purchase homeownership and financial management skills counseling. The study improves upon previous efforts by employing a different methodology that relies on an experimental design and tracks study participants’ creditworthiness over time. Download the full report. (49 pages, 829 KB

Conclusion:

The analysis here shows that a two-hour pre-purchase homeownership workshop and one-on-one pre-purchase counseling improved the study participants’ financial creditworthiness as they prepared to qualify for a home mortgage. However, the benefits from pre-purchase homeowner counseling and money management assistance for the treatment participants who received one-on-one counseling were generally greater in terms of credit scores, total debt, and various delinquency days on payments relative to control participants. Both treatment participants with one on-one counseling and control participants who became homeowners tended to pay their mortgages in a timely manner overall.