The St. Ambrose Development Team has decided to cover the rear addition with Mountain Sage JH50-30 Hardiplank Siding.
2203 Guilford Ave is coming along great! Demolition is complete and new joists and new sub floors were installed where needed. The walls and interior partitions are framed and are awaiting rough in electrical, plumbing and HVAC. Once framing has been done, we can start to see the new floor plans take shape. The roof has been completed and the exterior masonry front in currently being stripped of old paint. The bricks will be cleaned and re-pointed.
According to national news reports, demand for housing is rising — and housing prices along with it. That’s good news for homebuilders and the overall economy, but it’s important to put those reports into context, especially when it comes to the lower end of the housing market, where people are struggling to find a home.
At nonprofit NeighborWorks Waco, where we work to build stronger neighborhoods through homeownership and other quality housing opportunities, the comeback that we’re seeing in housing still has a long way to go.
Low-income buyers still have not come back into the marketplace. That’s partly because of tighter credit standards and the need for larger down payments, but it also reflects a lack of long-term confidence in the job market and a fear that buying a home, if one is laid off, could lead to foreclosure.
In our experience at NeighborWorks Waco, where we’re heavily involved in credit counseling, financial literacy and homebuyer education, most people who have gone into foreclosure first suffered a loss of income — primarily loss of a job — or an increase in expenses from a health condition or a divorce. Ballooning mortgage payments were a much smaller factor overall.
In counseling potential first-time homeowners, our primary concern is that they make a financially responsible decision. For many people, renting makes more sense.
Yet homeownership has benefits for both homeowners and the broader community that renting does not provide. That’s why the availability of housing that is affordable to those with low incomes is so important.
Homeownership, for instance, is typically the best way to build wealth over time — to create an asset that can be passed on to the next generation. Homeownership also leads to the improvement of properties in a way that renting does not. No matter how responsible a renter is, a renter rarely improves the landlord’s property.
For a homeowner, home is both a place of pride and a place whose value can typically be increased by improving its condition. Homeowners also relate to their neighbors and neighborhood differently because they share a financial stake in that neighborhood. That stake depends on one another.
Whether owned or rented, however, stable affordable housing is crucial to any community’s well-being. It’s crucial to the performance of the school system, because children in stable homes learn and achieve more in school. It’s essential to public health because healthy habits take root more easily there, and it’s vital to public safety because stable homes make communities safer.
That’s why I was pleased to be in Washington, D.C., last month to join leaders of nearly 200 housing and community development organizations from across the nation to launch a movement called Home Matters (www.HomeMattersAmerica.com). It’s a unique national initiative that aims to unite America around the essential role that a home plays as the bedrock for thriving lives, families and a stronger nation. The launch was spearheaded by the National NeighborWorks Association, of which NeighborWorks Waco is a member, with crucial support from Citi Community Development and Wells Fargo.
Also participating in the launch of Home Matters were Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan and a bipartisan group of members of Congress representing a broad political spectrum. Their presence — even in a polarized Capitol — underscored that Home Matters no matter what your political beliefs.
Housing must lead our economic recovery because it has so much impact on the economy. As the housing market improves, however, we must ensure that it offers opportunities at all economic levels — not for irresponsible borrowing but for responsible borrowing at all levels of affordability.
The key is affordability, and that key opens the door not only to stable housing for individuals but to community improvement. The more people can afford stable housing, the better off Waco will be.
Roy Nash is the president and CEO of NeighborWorks Waco.
The Bar Association of Baltimore City’s Senior Legal Services Program is proud to announce that it will host its 22nd Annual Law Day for Seniors event:
Saturday, April 20, 2013 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Borgerding District Court Building
5800 Wabash Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland 21215
The event attracts hundreds of Baltimore City seniors every year for informative talks on legal topics pertinent to seniors. This year, attorneys will be discussing: What To Do When a Loved One Dies, and Landlord/Tenant Issues Facing Senior Citizens. Additionally, there will also be a Medicare Part D update and a round table “Ask an Attorney” question and answer session for seniors at the event, a “Benefits Check Up” and many resource/referral materials. Breakfast and lunch provided.
To reserve your free seat at Senior Law Day, contact Jacqueline Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-396-5278. Provide your name and number of attending seniors. Group Reservations are welcome. Free Onsite Parking and Handicapped Accessible.
The 22nd annual Law Day for Seniors is made possible through the generous support of Saul Ewing, LLP, The Health Department of Baltimore City, CARE Services, The Maryland Legal Services Corporation and The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Inc.
The MacArthur Foundation published a recent report that indicates that Americans are not totally convinced that the ‘housing crisis’ is over and many, while still adhering to the dream of homeownership, are willing to wait awhile before embarking on that effort.
” A strong desire remains among Americans to own their own home – in fact, greater than seven in 10 renters aspire to own one day. However, the overall appeal of renting versus owning is changing. Fifty-seven (57%) of adults believe that “buying has become less appealing,” and by nearly the same proportion (54%), a majority believes that “renting has become more appealing” than it was before.”
Lifestyle changes, as evidenced by a more mobile younger population who are willing to relocate for work, account for some of the shift. However, increases in rents charged and historically low mortgage interest rates remain factors in this major financial decision. To read more about this subject visit: http://www.macfound.org/programs/how-housing-matters/
Congressman Cummings will host his 16th Annual Job Fair on Monday, April 15, 2013 from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM at the Fifth Regiment Armory, which is located at 29th Division Street Baltimore, Maryland 21201. There will be over 60 plus employers offering 500 employment opportunities, along with 25 resource providers. The day will also feature 5 workshops with topics ranging from One-Stop Career Centers, Apprenticeship Programs, Veteran’s Benefits, Ex-Offender Re-Entry, Secrets to Social Media, and Steps to Federal Employment.
Additionally, in preparation for this job fair, the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation will host a free “Resume Design and Job Fair Readiness Workshop”, on Tuesday, April 2nd with two sessions, from 9 am – 12 pm and 1pm – 4pm at State Office Building #3 located at 300 West Preston Street. Specialists will be on hand to work one-on-one with persons to prepare them for a meaningful job fair experience by helping you to identify the best employer and available opportunities that pairs with the job seekers experience, along with providing enhanced prep to increase their employability.
There are exciting things happening in St. Ambrose’s Legal Services program. On Monday, March 18, 2013 two things occured. The program launched a new webpage which allows people facing a legal problems to send a question and complete intake securely online. This was made possible by a grant from the Baltimore Bar Foundation.
Also on Monday, the Legal Department was featured in the Maryland Daily Record in an article by Joe Surkiewicz [Full Article: Subscriber Access Required]. Legal Director Jeanette Cole and Executive Director Gerard Joab were interviewed and quoted in the story:
Getting the legal program on track is Jeanette Cole, who joined St. Ambrose last year as director of legal services.
“The plan is not only to address foreclosure head-on, but to assist people before the problems lead to foreclosure — such as with consumer debt and credit reports,” Cole said. “When people are in financial distress, an appointment to see a lawyer is not always a priority, or even a hurdle they think they have to deal with. So it pays to be proactive. And it helps to have housing counselors, who the clients see first and are often referred to a lawyer here.”
Currently, Cole has one staff attorney and is in the process of hiring another. “We’re going out into the community, working with community organizers and offering a lawyer for free sitting at a desk and talking to clients,” she said.
Preventative issues that can be resolved with the help of a lawyer include helping people get the public benefits they’re entitled to.
Jeanette Cole shared a few recent client stories:
One recent client is a woman who has been raising her grandchild for 10 years. “The father was paying the mother child support, but not the grandmother,” Cole said. “With our assistance, she got the pro se forms and a family law attorney. Now she gets the child support paid directly to her.”
As a result, the grandmother can now afford to move to a safer neighborhood. “This impacts the quality of life for the child,” Cole noted. “That’s not foreclosure work. But it improved the quality of housing and the quality of the child’s life.”
Another result of outreach: “We found a house where rooms are rented and an entire family was living in one room,” Cole said. “We assisted them when the house went into foreclosure. The landlord didn’t tell them! With our help, they weren’t put out on the street.
“Foreclosure is such a final step for people,” Cole added. “Foreclosure prevention is ultimately what we’re about, using housing counselors and lawyers. We help them before things get too bad.”
Regarding the Department’s revamped priorities and intake process:
So far, Cole and her staff are meeting the foreclosure prevention demand. “When people are in distress, you can’t tell them to come back in two weeks,” she said. “It’s important that they know they spoke with a lawyer. We have open intake, not just certain hours.”
The bottom line is direct services to clients.
“It’s important and part of St. Ambrose’s history,” Joab said. “If you need help, this is where you come.”
St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center’s Legal Department can be reached in the following ways:
Phone: 410-366-8550 x249
New research has been released on the effectiveness of pre-purchase housing counseling and education – a core service available at St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center. The research found that homebuyers who received counseling were one-third less likely to fall behind on their mortgages 90 days or more, two years after taking out the loan, compared to homebuyers who did not receive similar counseling and education. The research was done for NeighborWorks America, a national nonprofit affiliated with St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center, by Neil Mayer and Associates and Experian, and is based on approximately 75,000 mortgage loans originated in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
The research findings have important implications for St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center and the entire housing counseling and education industry. While we have long known anecdotally that pre-purchase housing counseling and education provided by certified professionals at St. Ambrose is effective at helping to create homeowners who are less likely to default, this research provides significant backup.
The NeighborWorks America research shows how a small investment up front that finances the availability of pre-purchase housing counseling and education can help homeowners avoid financial losses by potentially staving off serious delinquency that has a good chance of extending into foreclosure, help prevent disruption of family life, and help keep communities stable that might be hurt by home foreclosure.
Estimates vary, but total losses due to foreclosure borne by local governments, servicers and households can exceed $50,000 per foreclosure, according to a report from the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress.
According to the Mortgage Bankers Association National Delinquency Survey for the fourth quarter of 2012, the percentage of residential mortgage loans 90 days or more past due across the country was 6.78 percent, and 3.74 percent of homeowners nationwide were in foreclosure. By providing NeighborWorks pre-purchase housing counseling and education to more consumers, it’s likely that tens of thousands of the more than 1.5 million homeowners who received a default notice in 2012 may have been able to avoid entering foreclosure.
Interestingly, the NeighborWorks America research shows that even repeat homebuyers benefit from receiving NeighborWorks pre-purchase housing counseling and education. According to the report, repeat homebuyers who received the services also are about one-third less likely to fall 90 days or more behind in their mortgages than repeat homebuyers who didn’t receive NeighborWorks pre-purchase housing counseling and education.
“More analysis of the data is required to determine the factors for the repeat homebuyer results,” said NeighborWorks America CEO Eileen Fitzgerald. “But one thing is clear from the data: housing counseling is effective, even if you’ve been a homeowner before.”