Tag Archives: foreclosure

Reclaiming Our Community Together

Foreclosure signs by Occupy Cincinnati hang from doorsOn April 21, Working In Neighborhoods released our annual study of foreclosures in Hamilton County. While the foreclosures in our community decreased by 17.5%, there were still 2,418 Hamilton County families who lost their home to foreclosure in 2013. Foreclosure numbers are improving, but the crisis is far from over. In the past 7 years, a total of 22,190 Hamilton County families lost their homes.

If a natural disaster displaced 2,418 families in Hamilton County, our community would pull together, marshall our resources, and address the problem head-on. We must respond to this crisis with the same amount of energy and creativity. We must repair the damage cause by foreclosures if our community stands a chance of moving forward.

Foreclosures in our community have hurt all of us. We have seen the median value of all properties in Hamilton County fall from a high of $135,000 in 2006 to a low of $112,000 in 2013. Last year, properties sold at Sheriff’s Sale for average of $48,000. What’s more, many of our neighborhoods are left with multiple vacant homes that decrease property values and make our communities less desirable places to live.

In 2014, how do we round this corner and recover from the foreclosure crisis? We must raise home values in our community in order to save our residents’ investments and to encourage the growth of home ownership in Hamilton County. There is an ongoing effort to demolish vacant, foreclosed homes in our community, but this approach only leaves us with vacant lots that need to be maintained.

A better solution is to return vacant homes and vacant lots to productive uses. We must renovate the vacant homes and keep our residents and our investments in Hamilton County. As public money dwindles, it is even more important for our community to raise private dollars. We know that foundations alone cannot address this need, so we need to create partnerships with every corporation and investor in our community so that we can work to repair the damage and move forward. We must call on lending institutions to inevst in renovation and stabilization projects across Hamilton County. We must also call on them to work with distressed homeowners so that the number of new foreclosures continues to decrease.

We know that Greater Cincinnati is comprised of residents and businesses who are proud and passionate about about the future of our community. We have seen over and over the generous response of our community to crisis. Now is the time to rebuild our neighborhoods and move toward a more prosperous future for all of us.

Improving Neighborhoods

IMG_0067Working In Neighborhoods empowers people to make informed choices for themselves and their neighborhoods through community building, home ownership, and economic learning. During 2013, WIN staff and volunteers, working with our community partners, carried out that mission in a variety of ways. Here are some highlights of accomplishments during our 35th Anniversary Year.

Economic Learning

  • Provided energy education to nearly 600 families
  • Conducted financial literacy workshops for 60 clients
  • Provided Ohio Benefits Bank Assistance to 63 clients

Community Building

  • Trained new neighborhood leaders and provided additional training for established leaders
  • Worked with the South Cumminsville Community Council and trained a core of leaders
  • Worked with the South Cumminsville Action Team to recruit 184 people to work on the Beekman Street Corridor Project

Homeownership

  • Conducted homebuyer classes for 160 clients
  • Provided individual counseling to 85 people to prepare them for homeownership
  • Conducted a Homebuyers Club for 22 clients
  • Through WIN’s housing counseling and the Save the Dream Ohio program, saved 340 homes from foreclosure
  • Started construction on 4 new units and sold 6 completed units to first-time homebuyers
  • Over 400 volunteers provided nearly 2,000 hours of service for WIN’s programs

 

WIN 2013 Foreclosure Report

smallmap_HamCoWIN’s annual study of 2013 foreclosures in Hamilton County In the Shadow of the Mortgage Meltdown: Taking Stock is now available online. This is Working In Neighborhoods’ 11th annual foreclosure report, describing trends and patterns of foreclosures in our communties. The report provides valuable information for neighborhood leaders, local governments, and others concerned about the impact of the foreclosure crisis on their neighborhoods. This year’s report provides detailed information on annual and cumulative neighborhood impacts, lender behavior, and sales trends. It also includes land use and estimated owner occupancy impacts of properties sold at Sheriff’s Sale in 2013. Read the stories from the Cincinnati Enquirer and WVXU.

Hard copies of the report are available upon request. WIN also creates community-specific reports for Cincinnati neighborhoods and Hamilton County municipalities at the request of community councils, local governments, and others. Contact Rigel Behrens at rbehrens@wincincy.org for more information.

An Update on WIN’s Impact

CircleWNI wanted to take this opportunity to share some exciting news with you, and to let you know just how impactful your support has been. We’ve just turned another corner and a new year is upon us, and we are pleased to tell you we have completed all home sales in South Cumminsville! Our houses on Cedar, Fergus, and Ambrose Street’s, are moving along very nicely and we will work hard to have them available by spring and summer of this year! Pam, who spear heads ourSave the Dreamforeclosure prevention work, recently announced that the staff at WIN helped 340 families keep their homes in 2013 through this program.

Recently, a wonderful story was shared with us by a couple receiving our help through our Financial Literacy program. With great pride, they told us they were able to save $800 for the very first time. They continue to work hard paying down their debt, but what is most delightful about their success is they are building an emergency fund, and will now be able to participate in their employer’s 401K building on their retirement. We hear from many grateful families who tell us, I can now teach my kids about credit and how to budget”. This program is powerful, foundational, and generational!

We hope you have enjoyed learning more about the work we do each day, and your gifts are what make this possible, and all of our accomplishments are because of your generosity. Our wishes fulfilled are the dreams that come true for those we continue to serve.

Increasing Numbers of People Save Their Dream with WIN

housingcounselingWIN’s Home Preservation Team has been busy! Since July there has been a 200% increase in requests for assistance from foreclosure-threatened clients who need to apply for relief through the Ohio Housing Finance Agency’s (OHFA) Save the Dream Ohio (SDO) program. Client outreach sessions in cooperation with GMAC/Ocwen Bank representatives as well as group intake sessions of 20?30 people each have been scheduled twice weekly to enable WIN’s housing counselors to help all who need aWssistance. Sessions have also been offered at Corpus Christi Church to serve people in Butler, Warren, and Clermont counties. The team helped 98 families register for help with SDO during just one week in August; by September, 115 more appointments were made.

WIN’s efforts were spotlighted in an article in the OHFA Newsletter, which noted that WIN is one of the first housing counseling agencies to participate in the state’s foreclosure prevention program. WIN’s Pamela Hardin Willis is quoted in the article: “it is really awesome to give the news to someone that, while they are grieving, their mortgage payment will be covered for a time or even…eliminated so that they can…get back on their feet.”

WIN’s clients consistently express great appreciation. “I don’t think I will ever find the words to express what a blessing you have been for me”, says one. “God sent you into my life to flip the script and make the wrong…..more than right.” Another client wrote, “I learned so much from you….you taught while you helped.” An older gentleman wrote that shortly after his wife’s death, WIN helped save the home that was her dream home that he was “determined to do everything to…keep and maintain.” A recent client summarized it well: “Without WIN I am certain that my family would have ended up homeless at an extremely difficult time in our lives. Thank you for all your efforts and guidance.”

These and many more “gifts” of appreciation encourage and stir our staff to continue to make every effort to help those who need it most to remain in their homes. Your support of WIN is an essential part of those efforts.

WIN Collaborates with Ocwen Financial Corporation

Amy_group_2_1Working In Neighborhoods has always been a strong believer in collaborative efforts to improve the lives of people in our neighborhoods. An example is a special outreach program organized by Jennifer Lis of OCWEN and Pamela Hardin-Willis of WIN.

OCWEN Financial Corporation is a servicer of residential and commercial mortgage loans. Several years ago OCWEN  assumed GMAC loan servicing, and a need arose to provide face-to-face assistance to former GMAC borrowers who were struggling and in need of loan modifications. In July, in response to invitations from both OCWEN and WIN, borrowers met with respresentatives of OCWEN and WIN at Working In Neighborhoods.

As a result, each client was assigned to a WIN counselor and monthly meetings are now scheduled for each borrower. Two clients have already been offered trial modifications while others are still in the process or are going through the “Save the Dream Ohio” foreclosure prevention program.

We are happy with the turnout for this event and hope to do another outreach with OCWEN in the coming Fall. For more information about WIN’s Home Preservation programs, click here.