FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 16, 2015 - SUN Foreclosure Prevention Program Now Available in Illinois
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 16, 2015
SUN Foreclosure Prevention Program Now Available in Illinois
Program praised nationwide as nonprofit solution that keeps hundreds of families in their homes
Building on its success in Massachusetts, Maryland, and Rhode Island, Boston Community Capital (BCC) today is announcing that its groundbreaking foreclosure relief program, the Stabilizing Urban Neighborhoods (SUN) Initiative, is accepting applications from homeowners across Illinois.
The innovative, non-profit program, which has kept more than 500 families facing foreclosure in their homes in Massachusetts, Maryland and Rhode Island, buys troubled homes from lenders at fair market prices and sells them back to the original homeowners with mortgages they can afford. The program is financed primarily through foundations and private investors.
“Seven years after the start of the Great Recession, we’ve had a tale of two recoveries,” BCC CEO Elyse Cherry said. “Far too many homeowners remain underwater and at great risk of foreclosure. Often entire neighborhoods have never recovered from the artificial inflation of their housing prices. We see that clearly in Illinois, where the foreclosure rate is 43 percent higher than the national average, according to RealtyTrac data. It’s why we thought Illinois was a smart next choice for expansion of the SUN Initiative. Our track record shows that the SUN program can make a meaningful difference for these homeowners and these neighborhoods. And we’ve proven that many struggling homeowners are ready and able to be good solid borrowers, if they have a mortgage that makes sense.
“We are eager to get to work in Illinois because of both existing need and the strong nonprofit counseling and legal services network in place here.”
Joining Cherry in the announcement today was Andrew Celis, Homeownership Services Manager for Foreclosure Prevention Programs at Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago. “The economic recovery has been very uneven in our region and many neighborhoods throughout Chicago and the state are still suffering the after-effects of recession and the collapse of the housing bubble,” Celis said. “A critical pathway to long-term sustainability is to match mortgages to the actual value of the home. That’s why innovations like the SUN program are so badly needed and we’re so excited to see them open for business in Illinois.”
Families interested in learning more about the SUN Initiative in Illinois can contact SUN directly at the toll-free number, 855-604-HOME (4663), via email at email@example.com or on the web at www.sunhomehelp.org. There is no fee to apply.
Started in 2009, the SUN Initiative has been praised by community, elected and financial leaders as a pioneering, sustainable, and scalable strategy for tackling the foreclosure crisis that continues to ravage communities and put a drag on the economy. The Washington Posttouted BCC’s SUN program as a “model to save foreclosed homes.” Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke called SUN “an innovative strategy to prevent occupied homes from becoming vacant and creating a strain on the community.” Saloncalls the program “a win-win that people in power should have been doing all along.” It has also been featured on television programs like PBS NewsHour, NPR’s All Things Considered, CBS Evening News and MSNBC’s All in With Chris Hayes, and in print outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.
The SUN Initiative has provided $86 million in mortgage financing for 419 properties to help more than 550 families remain in their homes. Borrowers’ original outstanding mortgage principal has been reduced in the aggregate by $46 million. The program is growing rapidly; and of the hundreds of mortgages SUN has renegotiated, nearly all of them pay on time.
The SUN Initiative is not a bailout or charity. Here’s how it works:
- Through housing counseling programs, local media, and other community partners, Boston Community Capital connects with homeowners facing foreclosure who genuinely want to stay in their home and responsibly pay an affordable mortgage that reflects the current fair market value of their home.
- SUN qualifies potential borrowers by carefully analyzing their finances and employment situations and employs strong underwriting standards to assure that borrowers have the ability to pay a properly sized and priced mortgage. Applicants must show they fell behind on payments because they had a predatory loan or experienced a demonstrable hardship, such as illness or job loss.
- Using primarily money raised from private investors and foundations, SUN negotiates with the lender to buy a home at the current distressed market value – which is substantially less than the amount originally paid by the homeowner during the housing bubble.
- SUN resells the home, typically at current fair market value, to the existing occupants with a new fixed-rate 30-year mortgage they can afford.
- Homeowners’ monthly mortgage payment and principal balance are reduced on average by close to 40 percent.
- To guard against fraud and speculation, SUN institutes a shared appreciation program requiring that BCC receive a portion of the gain if the value of a home appreciates over time. Any gain will be reinvested in the communities BCC serves.
- To further protect investors, the Initiative maintains strong loan loss reserves.
Boston Community Capital (BCC) is a non-profit community development financial institution dedicated to building healthy communities where low-income people live and work. Since 1985, BCC has invested more than $1 billion in projects that provide affordable housing, good jobs, and new opportunities in low-income communities, connecting these neighborhoods to the mainstream economy.
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