April 30, 2015

VICTORY: HUD Program Changes to Reduce Foreclosures and Increase Affordable Housing

April 24, 2015 - Exciting news from our partners at Right to the City, Center for Popular Democracy, and Alliance for Community Empowerment:

Following a six month campaign led by the community groups working with the Right to the City Alliance (RTC) and the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD), the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) of HUD announced significant changes to the Distressed Asset Stabilization Program (DASP).

Following the changes announced today, the DASP’s new plan will include:

  • A commitment to selling more loans through special pools that require investors to achieve a certain percentage of outcomes that help the surrounding neighborhood;
  • The creation of special auctions for nonprofit bidders only;
  • A 12-month foreclosure moratorium on all loans sold through the program;
  • Higher standards for loan modifications;
  • Improved reporting requirements; and
  • A 20-day first look period in which owner occupants, government entities, and nonprofits have the opportunity to buy a real estate owned property before an investor may bid.

“Wall Street has demonstrated how little they care about the stability of our neighborhoods,” says Giselle Mata a community leader with the group ACCE (Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment).  “The federal government shouldn’t be putting us back into the hands of Wall Street vultures when there’s a clear alternative.  We noticed that HUD has listened and is making changes to help more non-profits, with a commitment to our communities, get these mortgages.”

HUD, now joined by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, have been contributing to the Wall Street buy-up of neighborhoods across the country, through their bulk sale of delinquent mortgages. The private equity firm Blackstone is now the largest landlord of single-family housing in the country.  Community groups have been calling on the FHA to prioritize selling troubled mortgages to non-profits with a program to offer loan modifications with principal reduction and an affordable housing plan for vacant properties.  Instead, 90% of the 117,000 delinquent mortgages the FHA has sold since 2012 have gone to for-profit entities, largely private equity firms and hedge funds. A status report on the program, released by the FHA, showed that borrowers resumed payments on fewer than 13 percent of the mortgages as of February.

While Right to the City Alliance and the Center for Popular Democracy applaud the FHA’s movement in the right direction, they say there is still a lot more to be done.

Most importantly, the FHA needs to establish a “first look” program so that purchasers with a plan to offer modifications with principal reduction and to create affordable housing get a first chance to purchase all of the loans that the FHA is selling.  In addition, the FHA needs to strengthen affordability requirements for properties put on the rental market.

Over the past six months, community groups across the country have held rallies and protested at local HUD offices multiple times, in addition to national meetings with FHA staff.

“We’ve been strong, united and consistent in the work to defend our communities,” said Rachel Laforest, RTC’s Executive Director. “But this work is also about helping shape a housing economy that provides safe, dignified and long-term, truly affordable housing options for all families. We’re happy to see HUD take steps in the right direction, but more is needed to truly protect struggling homeowners and communities.”

In September 2014, Right to the City Alliance and the Center for Popular Democracy launched a national campaign calling on HUD to reform DASP. Read our report, Vulture Capital Hits Home: How HUD is Helping Wall Street and Hurting Communities.

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RTC is working collaboratively across sectors to develop national housing policy that ensures that our communities and future generations have homes that are truly affordable, stable, and dignified. Our Homes For All campaign aims to protect, defend, and expand housing that is truly affordable and dignified for low-income and very low-income communities by engaging those most directly impacted by this crisis through local and national organizing, and winning strong local policies that protect renters and homeowners, and shifting the national debate on housing.

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February 28, 2020

NFG Newsletter - February 2020

February is Black History Month and, in this newsletter, NFG honors Black resistance. Given the persistence of structural racism and the legacies of segregation, NFG has mobilized philanthropy to support POC-led organizing for equitable development since our start 40 years ago. Through our member-led and local advisor-led programming, we are lifting up how Black communities are reclaiming land ownership and addressing the racial wealth gap through grassroots power building.

At the beginning of the month, NFG’s Amplify Fund staff and steering committee spent a day with local organizers, non-profit leaders, and organizations in Charleston and Edisto Island, South Carolina — one of Amplify’s eight sites. Both national and local grantmakers learned alongside some of Amplify’s grantees, including the Center for Heirs’ Property PreservationLow Country Alliance for Model CommunitiesCarolina Youth Action Project, and South Carolina Association for Community and Economic Development, which are bringing together Black, Latinx communities and youth in the region to fight for community power, land rights, and environmental justice in the face of corporate power, criminalization of communities of color due to gentrification, and land theft.

This week, NFG’s Democratizing Development Program (DDP) hosted a two-day Health, Housing, Race, Equity and Power Funders Convening in Oakland, California. Over 100 participants grappled with how anti-Blackness and xenophobia fuel the complex housing & health crisis and community trauma, and heard examples of concrete organizing wins led by Black women from Moms 4 Housing and Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment. Organizers from around the country urged grantmakers to significantly invest in long-term general operating support, community ownership models, POC leadership, and 501(c)4 funding for Black, Indigenous, and POC communities engaging in policy and systems change around housing affordability and justice. 

From Amplify’s funder collaborative to the DDP convening’s planning committee, funders organizing other funders has been a key part of our work. Funder members: how are you stepping up as an organizer and moving more resources for power building in Black, Indigenous, and POC communities? We invite you to connect with NFG staffprograms, and upcoming events — including our National Convening — and be part of our community where we bring funders together to learn, connect, and mobilize resources with an intersectional and place-based focus. 

Onwards,
The NFG team

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January 23, 2020

NFG Newsletter - January 2020

Animated fireworks with the text "40 Years Strong"

This year marks NFG's 40th anniversary. During our early years, NFG was one of the few spaces in philanthropy specifically focused on people of color-led, grassroots organizing, and power building as the key to effective social change strategies. Today, NFG continues to be many funders' political home at a time when moving resources to struggles for justice is critically important: communities of color are bearing the brunt of the housing crisis, growing wealth and income inequality, and climate change; white nationalist backlash is rising; and our democracy is profoundly threatened. NFG is a space to draw support, deepen relationships, and find co-conspirators as we propel philanthropy to shift power and money towards justice and equity.

In 2020, the NFG network is continuing to explore structural racism in health and housing, racial capitalism, migrant worker justice in rural areas, reimagining community safety and justice, and more. We will also return ‘home’ to NFG’s founding city — Washington, D.C. — for our 2020 National Convening.

As we celebrate 40 years, our dynamic community of grantmakers and grassroots leaders is what makes us strong. This newsletter spotlights The Libra Foundation, an NFG member that shares our commitment to organizing funders in moving more resources to frontline communities and movements.

Keep reading below for more opportunities to engage with NFG. Whether you are new to NFG or a long-time member, we look forward to collaborating with you to accelerate racial, gender, economic, and climate justice.
 
Onwards,
The NFG team

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