Wednesday, March 17, 2010

CitiMortgage Pilot Aims to Stop Destruction of Foreclosed Homes

A new pilot program launched by CitiMortgage allows homeowners facing foreclosure to remain in their homes for six months – free of charge. They also receive $1,000 to cover moving expenses. In exchange, the homeowners must agree not to trash the home before they turn over the keys to the bank.

Michael Van Zalingen with NeighborWorks member Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago, said in an interview with NBC news that this program will help relieve a much greater problem. Vacant, looted and destroyed homes are not only less attractive to buyers, they also drive down property values in the surrounding community and encourage crime.

For the at-risk homeowners, the program allows them leave with greater dignity, and their credit scores won’t be as damaged as with a true foreclosure Zalingen said.

NBC Chicago’s article and video on the CitiMortgage program are available here.

NeighborWorks America’s stable communities initiative helps local nonprofits respond to the community challenges that arise when foreclosed homes remain vacant or abandoned. Find out more about those efforts here.

NeighborWorks America Helps Communities 'Go Green' by Awarding 170 Training and Education Certificates

NeighborWorks America, the nation’s largest trainer of community development professionals, recently awarded 170 certificates of completion to nonprofit leaders from around the country. The certificates were awarded in a range of disciplines including how to improve the energy and environmental footprint of multifamily and single-family housing, and how to engage community residents on behalf of greener living. The classes, offered at the NeighborWorks Training Institute (NTI) four times each year, are part of NeighborWorks America’s broader Green Initiative for communities.

“This was our largest number of certificates earned since we began a gradual roll-out of green courses in 2005,” commented Paul Kealey, director of training. “These are exciting times for housing developers and community leaders. Energy efficiency and better health through the use of greener products is on everyone’s mind. While the courses directly enhance the knowledge of the participants, the community-wide benefit of their learning touches thousands of people.”

The NeighborWorks America Green Initiative is a multi-faceted effort involving professional education, community outreach, targeted grants for the development and rehabilitation of housing, and participation in coalitions working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while lowering the energy and resource bills for families.

Professional education can lead to designation as Green Building and Healthy Homes Specialist upon successful completion of nine integrated courses offered by NeighborWorks America. The next NeighborWorks Training Institute that will offer courses that lead to the Green Building and Healthy Homes Specialist certificate is May 3-7, 2010 in Phoenix, Ariz.

More information is available in the NeighborWorks Newsroom.