Habitat for Humanity Looks to Rehabilitate Foreclosed Homes

Mon, Jul 26, 2010


By: Carrie Bay

Habitat for Humanity International and the National Community Stabilization Trust have announced a new national partnership to help turn foreclosed and abandoned houses into affordable Habitat for Humanity homes.

Through the Stabilization Trust’s national Property Acquisition Program, the two-year partnership will give Habitat affiliates the opportunity to purchase foreclosed and abandoned properties from participating financial institutions on a “first look” basis, before the properties are broadly marketed and listed for sale.

Habitat will then renovate these homes and sell them as affordable housing to low- and moderate-income families. In order to carry out rehabilitations or repairs, many Habitat affiliates will use funding from HUD’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), which was established by Congress in late 2008 to help rebuild neighborhoods adversely impacted by high levels of foreclosures and vacancies.

Habitat says it will work through the Stabilization Trust to purchase and renovate hundreds of homes in distressed neighborhoods throughout 2010 and 2011.

“This partnership with the National Community Stabilization Trust is a crucial element in our efforts to revitalize communities across the U.S.,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of the Georgia-based Habitat for Humanity International. “By rehabilitating and returning foreclosed or abandoned properties to the affordable housing stock, Habitat for Humanity is providing more opportunities to improve the quality of life for families and creating flourishing communities that are safe and appealing.”

Craig S. Nickerson, president of the National Community Stabilization Trust, added, “As we expand community access to foreclosed and abandoned properties, it is very important that the Stabilization Trust joins forces with a nonprofit leader like Habitat. As a national supplier of affordable housing, Habitat has a proven track record of success at the grassroots level in generating new and renovated homes in partnership with families in need of affordable housing.”

Currently 130 NSP grantees in 40 states are participating in the Stabilization Trust’s program to access the REO inventories of the nation’s largest financial institutions – including Bank of America, Chase, Citi, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, GMAC, and Wells Fargo.

The option of having “first look” at properties through the Stabilization Trust program is an important tool for many local housing providers undertaking neighborhood stabilization efforts, as it enables them to quickly identify and acquire properties that may be critical to reversing downward neighborhood trends.

“The ability to purchase foreclosed houses before they hit the open market positions Habitat to make a bigger impact in communities hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis,” said Stephen Seidel, senior director global programs for Habitat for Humanity International. “We are excited for the opportunity to help rebuild communities which have been negatively impacted by the foreclosure crisis, while assisting people in need of affordable housing.”


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