Friday, May 28, 2010

NFMC Report: More than Half of Families Facing Foreclosure Affected by Job Loss

Today NeighborWorks America, the administrator of the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling (NFMC) Program, announced that 58 percent of homeowners who received foreclosure counseling through the NFMC Program reported the primary reason they were facing foreclosure was reduced or lost income. The news is found in NeighborWorks’ fifth Congressional report, which outlines NFMC Program activity through January 31, 2010.

"With unemployment numbers not likely to dip below 9 percent in 2010, our report proves what many already believed to be true. Unemployment and reduced income are having a devastating effect on our nation’s homeowners,” said Ken Wade, CEO of NeighborWorks America. “While Congress and state governments have stepped up and extended unemployment benefits to help families survive this tough economic climate, it’s time for mortgage servicers and investors to make meaningful accommodations for homeowners facing foreclosure. If they don’t, we’ll see even more empty houses and devastated neighborhoods in our communities.”

Greater detail on the findings of this report can be found in the NeighborWorks newsroom.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

NeighborWorks Fights Mortgage Modification Scams with National Effort

NeighborWorks organizations around the U.S. are holding more than 150 events during national NeighborWorks Week (June 5-12, 2010) to inform tens of thousands of homeowners on how to avoid and report mortgage modification scams.

The events include hundreds of volunteers canvassing neighborhoods with tip-sheets and flyers, dozens of one-on-one and group workshops about reputable mortgage modification programs, and more.

“Many mortgage modification scams are sophisticated, slick and so well crafted that homeowners find it difficult to recognize them for the danger that they are,” said NeighborWorks America CEO Ken Wade. “More than 7,700 mortgage modification scams have been reported to the authorities since our campaign started in October, and we believe that the number of homeowners who have been victimized is significantly greater.”

In addition to mortgage modification scam prevention events nationwide, NeighborWorks organizations also are holding traditional community celebrations and hands-on community building activities, including home repair and painting events, landscaping projects, and mural painting. These efforts, and those of NeighborWorks Week events over the past 26 years, leave positive lasting legacies in participating communities all year round.

Find events on the National NeighborWorks Week website. More information is also in the NeighborWorks newsroom.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

NeighborWorks America Receives $1 Million Grant from the Rockefeller Foundation for Nonprofit Housing Counseling and Foreclosure Prevention

NeighborWorks America today announced that it received $1 million from The Rockefeller Foundation in support of infrastructure development and upgraded technical support for nonprofit housing counseling organizations. The grant will help to strengthen and supplement nonprofit housing counseling capacity and increase their efficiency and ability to help homeowners avoid foreclosure.

Specifically, the grant will help NeighborWorks America provide data management and technical support to nonprofit organizations using CounselorMax™ to manage homeowner client data and to deliver and track that information to the servicers through the HOPE LoanPort, a web-based tool developed by the HOPE NOW Alliance that streamlines loan modification applications on behalf of borrowers at-risk of foreclosure, allowing housing counselors to efficiently transmit completed applications to mortgage servicers. In addition, the grant will also support community-based outreach events for homeowners at risk of foreclosure.

“Homeowners and housing counselors need better technology to work through the complicated details and document requirements for a long-term, successful mortgage modification,” said Ken Wade, CEO of NeighborWorks America. “The support from The Rockefeller Foundation will improve the work of nonprofit organizations that have been slowed by a paper-based system and inefficient mortgage modification delivery process. As a result of these investments, counselors will be able to serve homeowners at risk of foreclosure more efficiently and effectively.”

Monday, May 24, 2010

Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Actress Alfre Woodward and Actor Wendell Pierce Join NeighborWorks in Celebrating a Rebuilding Effort in New Orleans

The Pontchartrain Park area of New Orleans was completely destroyed by Hurricane Katrina and the pace of recovery had been extremely slow. But thanks in part to NeighborWorks’ Gulf Coast partner Pontchartrain Park Community Development Corporation (PPCDC), residents now have an opportunity to rebuild their community and return home.

On May 14, PPCDC celebrated completion of the first of 250 homes it plans to reconstruct in the area. The organization is headed by Wendell Pierce, the actor from HBO shows Treme and The Wire, who is from New Orleans and was raised in Pontchartrain Park. He took on the task of assembling the development team and partners to make his dream of redeveloping the housing in the area a reality. One of those partners is NeighborWorks America, who provided $200,000 in grants to PPCDC to fund the pre-development expenses associated with the project.

At the May 14 event, Pierce thanked NeighborWorks for stepping out and providing the initial pre-development funding. “When others said no, NeighborWorks said yes and we are sincerely thankful to them as a valued partner,” said Pierce.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters and actress Alfre Woodward also attended the celebration. Congresswoman Waters has visited New Orleans several times post Katrina to make sure resources promised by the government are delivered to the area. She thanked NeighborWorks America for the work it is doing in creating and preserving homeownership, not only in New Orleans, but across the nation.

Friday, May 21, 2010

NeighborWorks America Named a Top Builder by Builder Magazine

NeighborWorks America was named one of the nation’s largest residential home builders, according to Builder Magazine’s 2009 Builder 100 list. NeighborWorks America debuted on the 2009 Builder 100 list at No. 82, with 302 units of for-sale housing completed by its network of local NeighborWorks organizations.

“We are excited to be recognized for the work of our homebuilding network organizations. Even in the worst housing market since the Great Depression, local nonprofits are revitalizing their communities with new affordable and green for-sale housing, and preparing homebuyers for long-term homeownership,” said Thomas P. Deyo, deputy director of National Initiatives and Applied Research at NeighborWorks America. “NeighborWorks organizations not only build homes, we build communities.”

Learn more in the NeighborWorks Newsroom.

Monday, May 17, 2010

New Video for Homebuyers Available from NeighborWorks UNHS HomeOwnership Center

Those in the market to buy a home for the first time are often unsure about the home inspection process. In this video, Julie Jalowiec and George Acee with UNHS HomeOwnership Center in New York, provide homebuyers with some insight about what the professionals look for. It is the fourth in the center's educational series about homeownership and the home buying process.

If you are unable to view the video below, it is available online at

Friday, May 14, 2010

Fox News Interviews NeighborWorks COO Eileen Fitzgerald About the New Foreclosure Prevention Campaign

NeighborWorks America COO Eileen Fitzgerald was interviewed on FOX 5 Morning News about the new foreclosure prevention campaign launched yesterday by NeighborWorks America and the Advertising Council. Fitzgerald urged homeowners facing foreclosure to beware of scams and to seek help from the right people — HUD-approved housing counselors. The interview can be viewed at :

Thursday, May 13, 2010

NeighborWorks Launches New Foreclosure PSAs

The Advertising Council, in partnership with NeighborWorks America, announced today the launch of new national public service advertisements (PSA) designed to educate homeowners about where they can turn for help if they are at risk of foreclosure. The campaign encourages distressed homeowners to call the Homeowner’s HOPE Hotline, a free resource that helps homeowners facing foreclosure move closer to finding a resolution.

When the campaign was originally launched in 2007, an estimated 1 million homes were at risk of foreclosure. Since then, this number has continued to rise over the years. According to RealtyTrac data, foreclosure filings in the first quarter of 2010 were at almost 1 million properties, a 7 percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2009. Furthermore, this trend is expected to continue throughout this year, with an estimated 4 million homes at imminent risk of foreclosure, affecting homeowners in all communities, of all ethnicities and income levels.

“With an estimated 4 million homeowners at imminent risk of foreclosure this year, there is an urgent need to reach those homeowners and provide them with the information and counseling they need to move forward and make the right decisions,” said Ken Wade, CEO of NeighborWorks America. “It is an increasingly cluttered and confusing marketplace and even though homeowners want to take action, they are unsure of the steps they can take to prevent foreclosure. We are pleased to partner with the Ad Council and Cossette New York on this campaign to provide homeowners with a clear next step – call the HOPE hotline.”

Learn more about this new national campaign in the NeighborWorks newsroom or by visiting the campaign's website at View the videos on NeighborWorks YouTube Channel.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Frontier Housing Races to Clean Up After the May 2 Flood

Last week’s massive flash floods have caused incredible damage and heartache to residents in areas of Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee. In Morehead, Kentucky, staff and volunteers of NeighborWorks member organization Frontier Housing, are still hard at work meeting the immediate needs of their residents at Boodry Place, where the entire first floor structure and contents were damaged or destroyed.

Boodry Place is a residential, rental community where senior citizens and persons with disabilities, including children, live. Thankfully all ten families impacted are safe.

“The important thing is that our residents are all okay. The first floor residents have been safely moved to a shelter and the second and third floor residents are still in place,” said Stacey Epperson, president of Frontier Housing. “We appreciate everyone’s cooperation and patience as we bring every resource available to restoring Boodry Place.”

Residents are now staying in various locations, including with family members, vacant apartments on the second and third floors at Boodry and at a guest house provided by Morehead State University while repairs are underway.

To find out more information, go to

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Forensic Mortgage Loan Auditing is Latest Scam Targeting Homeowners

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued a consumer alert about a new twist on mortgage loan modification fraud. According to the nation’s top consumer protection agency, the latest scam to exploit financially strapped homeowners is the “forensic mortgage loan audit.”

The FTC says the fraud works like this: In exchange for an upfront fee of several hundred dollars, so-called forensic loan auditors offer to review the homeowner’s mortgage loan documents to determine whether the lender complied with state and federal mortgage lending laws. If a violation is found, the “auditors” say their findings can be used to avoid foreclosure, accelerate the loan modification process, reduce the loan principal, or even cancel the loan.

Nothing could be further from the truth, according to the FTC and its law enforcement partners. Forensic loan audits don’t help homeowners with loan modification or any other foreclosure relief.

Through the national Loan Modification Scam Alert campaign, NeighborWorks America is working with the FTC and other federal, state and local agencies to help homeowners facing foreclosure to spot loan modification scams, find trusted help and report illegal activity to authorities. NeighborWorks also urges homeowners who need help to go to or call 1-888-995-HOPE (4673) to get legitimate assistance from a HUD-certified housing counseling agency.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Green Homes Can — and Should — Be Affordable Homes

by Thomas P. Deyo, Deputy Director
Green, National Real Estate & Community Stabilization
NeighborWorks America

How can homes be efficient and healthy while remaining affordable?

“It’s about paying careful attention to the basics — thoughtful design, smart choices and good building,” says The Home Depot Foundation President Kelly Caffarelli, in a really thoughtful article on how families of modest incomes can reap the economic and health benefits of environmentally friendly homes.

I agree, and was pleased to see Community Housing Partners (CHP) — a NeighborWorks member organization in Christianburg, Virginia — cited as a prime example of how nonprofit developers are building green, affordable homes as a matter of practice.

CHP is just one of many organizations in the NeighborWorks network that are bringing green benefits to moderate- and low-income communities through green home design, construction and rehabilitation. In fact, NeighborWorks America and the NeighborWorks network are fully committed to creating or rebuilding healthy, sustainable communities across the country. Visit to see a sample of the award-winning, green developments in the NeighborWorks network.

Cafarelli’s article, Green affordable housing protects pocketbooks, people and the planet, was published in Mother Nature Network’s blog.