HUD awards more than $1 million in housing counseling grants in North Carolina

Category: Prevent Foreclosure
Published: Wednesday, 29 April 2015
Written by Super User

HUD is also establishing a new Housing Counseling Federal Advisory Committee to help the Department provide consumers with the knowledge they need to find and sustain decent housing. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 requires HUD's Secretary to appoint no more than 12 individuals from various backgrounds to offer advice to the Department regarding the functions of the Office of Housing Counseling. Read HUD's Notice, which includes information on applying for a position on the Housing Counseling Federal Advisory Committee.

"Access to knowledge and information is vital to every family's success," said HUD Secretary Julián Castro. "These grants will expand housing opportunities for families across our nation. The evidence is clear: housing counseling works. We look forward to working with our housing counseling partners to empower American families with the tools to prosper."

"These grants are essential tools in empowering families to make more informed decisions regarding their housing future," said HUD Southeast Regional Administrator Ed Jennings, Jr. "HUD-approved counseling agencies use this funding to support a wide range of services from assisting lower income persons to locate an affordable apartment to helping first-time homebuyers avoid unsustainable mortgages."

National and regional agencies distribute much of HUD's housing counseling grant funding to community-based organizations that assist low- and moderate-income families to improve their housing conditions. In addition, these larger organizations help improve the quality of housing counseling services and enhance coordination among counseling providers. Read a summary of each grant, organized by state.

Recent research from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and the Urban Institute continues to find substantial benefits to housing counseling for families who purchase their first homes and those struggling to prevent foreclosure. Read more about research evidence on the role housing counseling can play in reducing mortgage delinquency and foreclosure and helping first-time buyers access and sustain homeownership.

Grant recipients utilize funding to address the full range of families' housing counseling needs. This includes helping homebuyers realistically evaluate their readiness for a home purchase, understand their financing and downpayment options, and navigate what can be an extremely confusing and difficult process. Grantees also help households find affordable rental housing and offer financial literacy training to individuals and families struggling to repair credit problems that restrict their housing options.

In addition to providing counseling to homeowners and renters, these organizations assist homeless persons in finding the transitional housing they need to move toward a permanent place to live. Finally, grantees also assist senior citizens seeking reverse mortgages or (HECM). These agencies provide counseling for the rapidly growing number of elderly homeowners who seek to convert equity in their homes into income that can be used to pay for home improvements, medical costs, and other living expenses.

Housing counseling agencies support fair housing by assisting borrowers in reviewing their loan documentation, to avoid potential mortgage scams, unreasonably high interest rates, inflated appraisals, unaffordable repayment terms, and other conditions that can result in a loss of equity, increased debt, default, and even foreclosure. Likewise, foreclosure prevention counseling helps homeowners facing delinquency or default employ strategies, including expense reduction, negotiation with lenders and loan servicers, and loss mitigation, to avoid foreclosure.

There are many ways to find a HUD-approved housing counseling agency. Go to to search by state. Call 1-800-569-4287 for our interactive telephone directory. Get the free housing counseling i-phone app from the app store (not yet available for android). Finally, watch HUD's video on how housing counseling can help families find (and keep) housing.

Woodhaven Country Club seeks bankruptcy, former owner challenges

Category: Prevent Foreclosure
Published: Sunday, 26 April 2015
Written by Super User

UPDATE, April 21: Former Woodhaven Country Club owner Lou Scoma says in an interview that current owner WCC Partners owes him up to $2.5 million. This story has been changed to reflect that.

The limited partnership that bought Woodhaven Country Club last year has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy but its former owner is asking a judge to dismiss the case, arguing it was filed to prevent foreclosure.

WCC Partners, LP, doing business as Woodhaven Country Club, filed for bankruptcy April 7 in US Bankruptcy Court in Fort Worth. In a subsequent filing, WCC said it had much as $10 million in assets and as much as $10 million in liabilities.

Scoma Family Limited Partnership has filed a motion to dismiss the bankruptcy case, saying it holds a lien against "nearly all if not all of the debtor's property," and that WCC had "payment issues" with Scam and was in negotiations to solve the problem when WCC filed for bankruptcy.

WCC's bankruptcy filing lists Scoma as a creditor, but doesn't say what it owes Scoma.

In an interview with The Business Press, Scoma said Woodhaven's owners owe him as much as $2.5 million. They paid him a total $1.5 million in a down payment and subsequent payments on their debt to Scoma before they stopped paying, Scoma said.

WCC's bankruptcy attorney did not respond to emailed questions or a request for an interview. The Chapter 11 filing allows WCC protection from creditors while it reorganizes.

Another filing by WCC identifying its top 20 unsecured creditors listed a Utah firm named Estrella that the filing said loaned working capital to WCC in 2014 and 2015 and is owed $2 million; the Internal Revenue Service, owed $179,000; and numerous vendors and other creditors.

Scoma said Estrella is WCC Partners' backer.

In its motion to dismiss, Scoma said it was moving toward a foreclosure sale of the club and related assets.

"The Chapter 11 filing was not in good faith, but was solely for the purpose of delay," the motion said.

WCC, in a filing with the case, said Woodhaven brought in $1.24 million in income in 2014 and $330,000 so far this year.

Tuesday deadline to avoid tax auction for delinquent property owners

Category: Prevent Foreclosure
Published: Wednesday, 01 April 2015
Written by Super User

#x201c;I#x2019;ve been all around the county,#x201d; Meisner said Friday afternoon. #x201c;We#x2019;re just trying to make some last-ditch efforts to get them on a payment plan before the March 31 deadline hits.#x201d;

The properties the office is focused on reaching are those that have been behind on property taxes since 2012 or before. Tax foreclosure in Michigan is a three-year process.

Two weeks ago, there were more than 2,200 on the list. Meisner hopes fewer than 800 will actually be auctioned off after Tuesday#x2019;s deadline passes.

The treasurer#x2019;s office keeps track of forfeited and foreclosed properties.

Forfeited means an owner is behind on property taxes for more than a year and the treasurer#x2019;s office places a lien on the property. Foreclosed means a judge has ordered the treasurer to take the property and sell it.

It#x2019;s the foreclosed group Meisner#x2019;s trying to reach to avoid a tax sale.

#x201c;We really want to prevent foreclosure if we can,#x201d; Meisner said.

Homeowners behind on their property taxes should contact the treasurer#x2019;s office for assistance.

Syracuse land bank after 2 years: 112 sales, 32 demolitions and a long way to go

Category: Prevent Foreclosure
Published: Tuesday, 31 March 2015
Written by Super User

SYRACUSE, NY -- In its first two years, the Syracuse land bank sold 112 tax-delinquent properties to new owners, demolished 32 unsalvageable buildings and helped the city boost tax collections by an estimated $7.6 million.

But the nonprofit agency still has far to go in its mission to rehabilitate or tear down roughly 2,000 abandoned and neglected properties in Syracuse, agency officials told the city council this week.

Land bank officials have asked Mayor Stephanie Miner to provide the agency with $2 million in her 2015-16 city budget, which Miner will unveil next month. In each of the past two years, the city gave the land bank $1.5 million.

Vito Sciscioli, the land banks volunteer chairman, said the organization needs to build up cash reserves to cover the cost of stabilizing and maintaining hundreds of additional properties, many of which are vacant and blighted.

The Greater Syracuse Land Bank, one of 10 such organizations in New York state, started operations in late 2012. Syracuse city officials then began an aggressive program to foreclose on tax-delinquent properties and transfer them to the land bank for resale or demolition.

The citys program dramatically boosted collection of past-due property taxes, as owners sought to prevent foreclosure. From late 2012 through June 2015, the increase is projected to reach $7.6 million, based on actual collections through last month.

Land bank officials this week provided the Common Council with a review of their performance in 2014, the second full year of operation, and their objectives for 2015. Here are some of the numbers:

-- Properties acquired in 2014: 269 structures, 71 vacant lots
-- Total properties acquired since 2013: 510
-- Properties sold in 2014: 76
-- Sales proceeds in 2014: $965,000
-- Private renovations planned for properties sold in 2014: $4.2 million
-- Total properties sold since 2013: 112
-- Demolitions in 2014: 32
-- State grant received in 2014: $1.9 million
-- Total state grants since 2013: $4.9 million
-- Net income in 2014: $1.6 million
-- 2015 goal for property sales: 120
-- 2015 goal for sales proceeds: $1.5 million
-- 2015 goal for demolitions: 40

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