Homefree USA & Homes Saved By Faith Foreclosure Intervention, Financial Literacy & Homeownership Initiative

A Homefree USA and Homes Saved By Faith/Home Ownership Training Center Foreclosure Intervention Intitiative provided in collaboration with City of Cleveland, Participating Elected Officials, Selected Financial Institutions, Various Faith-Based Organizations and Associations, and Other participating agencies 

Background

Cleveland is the largest city in Ohio with a population of approximately 2,250,000 in the Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor MSA.  It continues to be one of the fastest changing cities in the nation as redevelopment and renewal contiue to sweep the region. While technology, education, tourism and medicine continue to lay the foundation for a strong economy, the global economic crisis has injured the core manufacturing and goods base that has traditionally contributed greatly to the regional economy.  All economic, ethnic and cultural sectors of the community have suffered and foreclosures have beset the housing and commercial landscape of Cleveland in a significant way. City Council documents highlight the extreme effect on Zip Code 44105 and others. These conditions have led to a widening of the broad gap between incomes, net wealth and homeownership for minority peoples. This exists despite attractive prices and plentiful housing supply.  It is clear from surveys and analysis that one primary reason for abundant foreclosures and the homeownership gap is misinformation and lack of access to affordable housing resources within the Cleveland community.

HUD continues to fulfill its mandate to encourage homeownership retention and aquistion through the efforts of Intermediary Homefree USA in conjunction with Home Ownership Training Center. Homefree continues to fulfill its works to meet these needs by assisting in neighborhood stabalization and revitalization efforts through collaborations to provide much needed education, training and technical assistance to communities.  This collaboration with Faith-Based organizations through partnership with Homes Saved by Faith develops resources to assist residents of Cleveland in improving their housing situations.  This is done through direct intervention and counseling in foreclosure, and by providing ongoing education and support for homeownership through financial literacy training.

The purpose of this effort is to provide all families in Cleveland with homebuyer education and counseling, financial literacy and immediate support for foreclosure intervention and prevention.

Initiative Summary

Surveys and ongoing studies show that many families face foreclosure because of misconceptions, fear and lack of knowledge of the process.  Statistically, 57% of families facing foreclosure fail to act until they are served with legal paperwork.  Additionally, 63% of those facing foreclosure do not know that they have any option other than that which is laid out by the original ‘collector’ from the Loan Servicer that contacts them.  This too often results in modifications that are impossible to maintain and more foreclosures than are necessary.

When foreclosures do occur, many homes continue to lie vacant as families that do not understand the opportunity for homeowneship that is thereby presented hesitate to enter the market, continuing to live in apartments and foregoing opportunities for homeownership that now abound.  Through this Initiative, we will be able to provide these clients with information that will elevate their awareness that foreclosure is often avoidable, and that for many others homeownership is now more within their reach than at any time in recent history.

HomeFree USA is a certified HUD Intermediary and has demonstrated a long-standing commitment to the Cleveland community.  Homes Saved By Faith and Home Ownership Training Center have provided technical assistance and capacity building for the faith based community nationally and regionally.  Cleveland’s Faith-Based Community has been a solid partner with Government in every major crisis to strike Cleveland and a foundational partner in rebuilding neighborhoods and empowering people and families through counseling, training and direct intervention.  Bold municipal leadership through the office of the Mayor and the City Council is undergirded by strong Federal support of the US Congress through elected members of the House and Senate.  This collaboration has understanding of and access to management resources that will help train, track and report client activity efficiently and accurately.

One key element of the plan is to utilize the resources and enhance the capacity of Homes Saved By Faith as the lead agency through technical assistance support from HomeFree USA, in conjunction with Home Ownership Training Center, to collaborate with faith-based organizations.  Working with congregations and Faith-Based Associations in the greater Cleveland Metro-area that are well placed throughout the community, and committed to working with citizens to strengthen their understanding of the foreclosure process and heighten their awareness of enhanced homeownership and occupancy opportunities.  The Collaborative will provide an aggressive targeted outreach and marketing campaign to provide opportunities for residents using diverse community settings, utilizing churches, community centers, retail outlets and public venues where available. The Program Coordinator has extensive experience in foreclosure and loss mitigation as well as in mortgage loan origination and underwriting, and will serve as the primary link between Initiative participants.

Methodology

The collaborative will present informational workshops in various public locations, providing an overview of the foreclosure process and intake services to give participants direct access to FREE intervention services provided by HUD through HomeFree USA and other Certified HUD Intermediaries.  These training outreach sessions will also highlight available legitimate credit building services as well as homeownership opportunities that have increased due to changes in housing in the Cleveland market.