Wednesday
August 20, 2014

A Way to Stop Foreclosure Evictions?

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A Way to Stop Foreclosure Evictions?

Boston Community Capital, a nonprofit helping low-income communities, is on a buying spree to clear the backlog of troubled mortgages and keep struggling home owners in their homes. 

During the last four years, the community development financial institution has purchased nearly 400 homes across the country that were in some stage of foreclosure through its Stabilizing Urban Neighborhoods program. It then resells the homes to the former occupants with new 30-year fixed-rate mortgages that are often 40 percent lower than the home owners' original monthly mortgage payments.   

“Nobody has benefited from evicting people,” says Elyse Cherry, chief executive of Boston Community Capital. “It’s better to keep people in their home, keep a floor under housing prices, and keep the community stable.”

The nonprofit organization intends to purchase another 75 homes in Massachusetts and other states. It received a $25 million loan from East Boston Savings Banks this spring for its program. 

For home owners to participate in its program, Boston Community Capital requires that the monthly mortgage payments not exceed 38 percent of the borrower’s monthly income, and borrowers must come up with a $5,000 down payment.  There are also closing costs, typically up to $8,000, as well as a $3,000 fee for the cost of the company buying the home. Boston Community Capital will use the home owner’s down payment to help cover those costs and roll over any remaining balance into the mortgage. 

Boston Community Capital says that it also establishes a reserve account for each home owner. The reserve account is about 1.5 percent of the home owner’s loan and is a fund for families to use in case of home repairs or a home owner's sudden job loss. 

Source: “A Model to Save Foreclosed Homes?” Washington Post (July 16, 2013)