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In The News

MARCH 7, 2013

State Law Creates Option to ‘Fast-Track’ Foreclosure

To shorten the foreclosure process for abandoned homes, the state of Illinois now allows servicers to ‘fast-track’ the foreclosure process.  The new law could shorten the process from the typical two years to between three to six months for these homes. The expedited process helps protect surrounding property values by moving abandoned homes out of foreclosure and back to productive use more quickly. This will decrease the instance of blight and crime which can destroy property values and destabilize neighborhoods.



FEBRUARY 28, 2013

Strategy for Sustainable Homeownership Outlined in New Report

Though some have questioned whether “the elevated status of homeownership” caused the housing crisis, the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Housing Commission says it was more a problem with lenient underwriting practices, predatory and abusive lending practices, and the instance of unqualified buyers submitting incorrect credit information. Further complicating things, credit issues have now moved from being too loose to too tight.



FEBRUARY 11, 2013

Housing Market Strengthens, According to Housing Scorecard

Data showing improvements to the housing market was recently released by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the US Department of the Treasury. The January Housing Scorecard shows the housing market strengthening as the number of “underwater” homeowners decreases and the prices of homes increase. Although this trend varies from one region to the next and economic recovery is still shaky, the overall market appears to be improving.

SOURCE: Real Estate Rama


FEBRUARY 1, 2013

NSP Program Boosts Revitalization In Pontiac

The value of focused revitalization is easy to see in Pontiac, Michigan.  Over $13 million in Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) 2 funds have been used to redevelop buildings, create new construction and demolish buildings that were blighted.  New and refurbished homes and apartments, including popular “loft” style apartments, are drawing new residents, plus motivating existing homeowners to take better care of their properties.  The NSP program has spurred additional investment in the community as well, helping to maximize the community’s potential and bolstering surro

SOURCE: The Oakland Press


JANUARY 23, 2013

"Neighborhood Effect" Plays Critical Role in Neighborhood Health

A neighborhood's character has greater impact on its economic future than income levels and rates of foreclosure.  This theory, called the "neighborhood effect," essentially asserts that the identity of a community and the actions of its residents are what protects it from economic woes.  This article highlights an urban Chicago neighborhood that has faced difficult times but still strives for safety and success by residents working together to achieve common goals.  Truly, when local community members unite to help an area rebound, success comes naturally.  Strong neigh

SOURCE: Planetizen


JANUARY 21, 2013

Personal Relationships: The Key to Survival

The importance of social networks becomes critically clear in the days after a natural disaster as personal relationships prove to be key to survival. Data from the 1995 heat wave in Chicago showed that neighborhoods with similar racial and income demographics fared quite differently depending on the social well-being of the area. Neighborhoods with better sidewalks, stores, restaurants and community groups had stronger community relations and residents were able to ask for help when they needed it.

SOURCE: The Atlantic Cities


JANUARY 11, 2013

New Bill Provides Tenant Protections

California landlords are now required to tell tenants, in writing, if a notice of default has been made against the property in which they live and rent. In addition, if a foreclosure takes place and a new owner takes over the property, that owner is not allowed to evict existing tenants for at least 90 days.

SOURCE: RealtorMag


JANUARY 3, 2013

Can Neighborhood Revitalization Help Eliminate Poverty?

Although poverty rates have not changed much in the United States over the past 25 years, local community revitalization strategies are proving to be an important component to eliminating poverty for the long term.  This article highlights how well-planned community revitalization strategies create change and opportunity, thereby providing many individuals and families with a way out of poverty. The cost of caring for children in poverty is about $500 billion every year, meaning solutions that help people move out of poverty and into stability are beneficial to everyone.

SOURCE: The Huffington Post


DECEMBER 21, 2012

Mortgage Settlement Helping Some, But Not All

Although some homeowners have been positively affected by the national mortgage settlement and had a part of their financial burden lifted, many others still have not yet found relief.  This article explains the ins and outs of the national mortgage settlement and, so far, what's gone both right and wrong.  Although the nuances of the program are complicated, it's important for homeowners to try and understand.

SOURCE: The Ledger


DECEMBER 13, 2012

Mortgage Relief Offered by Bank of America

About 164,000 homeowners have been helped through Bank of America's consumer relief efforts, amounting to around $15.8 billion, which the bank is required to do under the national mortgage settlement. This assistance includes principal balance reductions, which lower the monthly mortgage payments of delinquent or underwater borrowers by about 35 percent. In addition to principal reductions, B of A has provided short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure options to 62,000 households and second lien forgiveness to about 43,000 borrowers.



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