MAKING HOME AFFORDABLE PROGRAM EXTENDED – More Homeowners Will Qualify for Mortgage Relief!

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DSHA Partners with Federal and Local Agencies to
Expand Help for Homeowners

 

Contact:
Christina M. Hardin
Chief of Community Relations, DSHA
Phone: (302) 739-4263
Email: Christina@destatehousing.com


July 12, 2013 – (Dover, DE) –
The Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) announced last month that it will be taking the lead in a new outreach project designed to expand the relief options available to homeowners who are struggling with their mortgages. The Making Home Affordable Outreach and Intake Project aims to help homeowners avoid mortgage default by seeking resolutions through the Making Home Affordable (MHA) Program, the cornerstone of President Obama’s plan to offer lasting relief to homeowners in financial distress. DSHA is expecting to receive $47,750 which will be allocated to the housing counseling agencies who are participating in the program for document preparation, marketing outreach, and oversight, in addition to the $12,135 for marketing funds through the MHA supplemental outreach funding. While the MHA Program was set to expire at the end of this year, the U.S. Departments of Treasury and Housing and Urban Development recently announced that the deadline has been extended until December 31, 2015.

“We are pleased to be partnering with local housing counseling agencies to participate in this project,” said DSHA Director Anas Ben Addi. “While the housing market has begun a slow recovery, many homeowners are still struggling to make their mortgage payments on time and could benefit from one of the relief options available to them through the Making Home Affordable Program.”

Homeowners not only have more time to participate in the MHA Program, but the relief options available to them have been expanded as well. Homeowners who previously may not have qualified for a loan modification or refinance may now be eligible under expanded MHA criteria. Furthermore, homeowners who are underwater, or owe more than their homes are worth, may be able to benefit from the MHA Principal Reduction Alternative.

“The Making Home Affordable Program has provided help and hope to many Delaware homeowners,” said Jane C.W. Vincent, HUD’s Regional Administrator of the Mid-Atlantic region. “Families have used its tools to reduce their principal, modify their mortgages, fight off foreclosure and stay in their homes. And with this extension, we ensure that the program keeps supporting homeowners in the First State for years to come.”

DSHA, along with five HUD-approved nonprofit housing counseling agencies, will be conducting intensive outreach to homeowners who may be eligible to participate in the MHA Program. Homeowners are encouraged to seek free, professional help from a certified housing counselor, who can help them navigate the relief options available to them, and determine which one best meets their needs.

“It is so important that homeowners begin working with a certified housing counselor at the first sign of trouble with their monthly mortgage payments,” said Stephanie Staats, Chief Programs Officer for YWCA Delaware. “A housing counselor can help you avoid mortgage default, repair your credit, budget more effectively, and teach you the skills to make sound financial decisions in the best interest of you and your family.”

Delaware agencies participating in the MHA Outreach and Intake Project will be hosting a statewide Open House on July 22, 2013 from 5:00pm to 7:30pm at office locations in Wilmington, Newark, Dover, and Georgetown. Attendees will learn more about how the Making Home Affordable Program may be able to help them, whether by curing a mortgage delinquency, refinancing their loan at a lower interest rate, or reducing the amount owed on their principal. More information about this Open House will be available soon.

About the Delaware State Housing Authority

The Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA), formed in 1968, is dedicated to providing quality, affordable housing opportunities and appropriate supportive services to low- and moderate-income Delawareans. In addition to its role as the State’s Housing Finance Agency, DSHA is unique in that it also serves as a Public Housing Authority and acts as a Community Development and Planning Agency. As a Public Housing Authority, DSHA receives funding from HUD to build, own, and operate public housing in Kent and Sussex counties, two of Delaware’s three counties. For more information about the Delaware State Housing Authority, please call: (888) 363-8808 or visit our website at: www.destatehousing.com.

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DSHA Announces the Recipients of More Than $2.85 Million in CDBG and HOME Funds

Contact:
Christina M. Hardin
Chief of Community Relations, DSHA
Phone: (302) 739-4263
Email: Christina@destatehousing.com

Dover — The Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) today announced that 17 communities and scattered sites will receive funds from the state’s Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME).  More than $2.85 million will be divided amongst the municipalities of Kent and Sussex Counties for housing rehabilitation, water/sewer hookups, demolition, a planning study, street repair, curb/sidewalk installation, and administration to benefit low- to moderate-income families and individuals.

DSHA Director Anas Ben Addi commented, “The Community Development Block Grant Program focuses its funding and makes significant quality of life improvements in housing and neighborhood infrastructure in Central and Southern Delaware.  By combining an additional $1M in HOME funds with these efforts, we create a bigger impact that benefits more communities as a whole.”

Recommendations for funding were made by an independent review panel whose members evaluate each application’s potential benefit to low-income persons, the management capacity of the applicant and the cost-benefit of the proposed activities, including:  the severity of need, impact, cost reasonableness and feasibility.

The following communities were awarded funding:

Kent County

Location Activities Amount
Countywide Rehab Program Delivery $ 62,000
Scattered Emergency Repairs Rehabilitation $ 40,000
Harrington Rehabilitation $ 72,000
Leipsic Rehabilitation $ 72,000
Milford Rehabilitation $ 72,000
Smyrna Rehabilitation $ 74,000
Hartly Area Rehabilitation $ 55,200
Holly Hills MHP Rehabilitation $ 44,000
Pinewood Acres MHP Rehabilitation $ 44,000
Rodney Village/Kent Acres Rehabilitation $ 60,000
Scattered Sites Rehabilitation $ 66,000
Star Hill/Briar Park Rehabilitation $ 66,000

Sussex County

Location Activities Amount
Countywide Rehab Program Delivery/
Impacted Communities
$112,000
Frankford Rehabilitation $ 64,000
Georgetown Street/Sidewalk $103,460
Rehabilitation $ 64,000
Laurel Rehabilitation $ 70,000
Seaford Rehabilitation $ 70,000
Scattered Sites Rehabilitation $ 48,000
Demolition $ 46,000
Water/Sewer Hookups $ 50,000
Scattered Emergency Repairs Rehabilitation $ 48,000
Cool Spring Rehabilitation $ 64,000
Coverdale Crossroads Rehabilitation $ 64,000
Mount Joy Rehabilitation $ 64,000
Rural Selbyville Rehabilitation $ 64,000

Kent and Sussex Counties received a combined total of $200,000 to administer the block grant funds.  The Community Development Block Grant Program will assist more than 225 families this year.  Additionally, the HOME Scattered Sites Rehabilitation Program will help more than 60 families in need of housing rehabilitation.

If you would like to learn more about how these programs may be able to help your community, please contact Andy Lorenz at (302) 739-4263 or at andy@destatehousing.com.

About the Delaware State Housing Authority
The Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA), formed in 1968, is dedicated to providing quality, affordable housing opportunities and appropriate supportive services to low- and moderate-income Delawareans. In addition to its role as the State’s Housing Finance Agency, DSHA is unique in that it also serves as a Public Housing Authority and acts as a Community Development and Planning Agency. As a Public Housing Authority, DSHA receives funding from HUD to build, own, and operate public housing in Kent and Sussex counties, two of Delaware’s three counties. For more information about the Delaware State Housing Authority, please call: (888) 363-8808 or visit our website at: www.destatehousing.com.

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DSHA Receives Grant to Help Homeowners

 

DSHA Receives Grant to Help Homeowners

July 2, 2013 – (Dover, DE) – Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) Director Anas Ben Addi today announced that DSHA was awarded $91,722 from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) for comprehensive housing counseling services to be performed by three sub-grantees – First State Community Action Agency, NCALL Research, Inc., and YWCA Center for Homeownership. This is the first time DSHA has received funding as an intermediary for comprehensive counseling services from HUD.

“Today’s announcement is welcome news to the agencies that will receive the grant, and the many Delawareans who will benefit from it,” said Congressman Carney. “We have started to see a turnaround in the housing market, but there are still thousands in our state who, through no fault of their own, struggle to make their mortgage payments and stay in their homes. The agencies that applied for this grant provide free counseling and education services to many of these homeowners in some of the most low-income, underserved areas of the state. I know these resources will be put to very good use.”

DSHA Director Anas Ben Addi stated, “In addition to being a great honor for the participating agencies, now Delawareans will have even more opportunities to take advantage of the invaluable services that housing counselors provide. This is another positive step in creating the counseling services network we have envisioned.”

While the HUD Housing Counseling Grant is a new undertaking for DSHA, the agency has been working actively for the past several years to develop a robust partnership with all ten HUD-approved Housing Counseling Agencies in Delaware. DSHA collaborates with housing counselors to make a wide range of services available to Delawareans who need them, including financial coaching, debt management, homeownership counseling, and foreclosure prevention services.

“Last fall, I met homeowner Dawn Pyle who told me how she almost lost her home—not once, but twice—due to job loss from a life-threatening illness. She credits DSHA and the YWCA’s housing counseling program and counselor Marva Wood with helping her find her own road to recovery to hold onto her home,” said Jane C.W. Vincent, HUD’s Regional Administrator of the Mid-Atlantic region. “And, we know that Dawn is not alone. The evidence is clear that housing counseling works. These grants are a smart investment to help other Delawareans who are at risk of losing their homes.”

The funds from this grant will support pre-purchase homeownership counseling for Delawareans who are looking to buy their first homes, and who require financial literacy, budget counseling, and other related services in order to become mortgage-ready. Housing counselors work intensively with pre-purchase clients to ensure that they are equipped with the information and resources they need to select a sound mortgage product which is right for their financial situation and personal goals. Last year, counselors from NCALL, First State, and YWCA conducted more than 5,000 homeownership counseling and education activities, including one-on-one counseling appointments, workshops, seminars, and homebuyer fairs.

Joe Myer, Executive Director of NCALL Research, Inc. added, “HUD funding for housing counseling services in Delaware is vitally important to first-time homebuyers seeking to become mortgage-ready and financially able consumers, empowered to make informed decisions about their housing future. A decent, affordable home positively impacts all aspects of family life, from health and education to stability and employment. Housing counseling is a well proven means to sustainable homeownership, rental housing, and foreclosure prevention.”

“This is exciting news for Delaware,” confirmed Bernice Edwards, Executive Director of First State Community Action Agency. “Housing counseling services are not just for families looking to buy a home or for those facing foreclosure. Financial literacy training is offered to lower-income households struggling to repair credit, to broaden their options, and to help seniors stay in their home.”

“YWCA Delaware supports families in many ways, which includes helping them realize their dream of successful homeownership. Support from HUD will enable YWCA to continue to help Delawareans achieve family economic security by either purchasing an affordable first home, or becoming financially stable so they can stay in their existing home,” said Stephanie Staats, Chief Programs Officer for YWCA Delaware.

About the Delaware State Housing Authority
The Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA), formed in 1968, is dedicated to providing quality, affordable housing opportunities and appropriate supportive services to low- and moderate-income Delawareans. In addition to its role as the State’s Housing Finance Agency, DSHA is unique in that it also serves as a Public Housing Authority and acts as a Community Development and Planning Agency. As a Public Housing Authority, DSHA receives funding from HUD to build, own, and operate public housing in Kent and Sussex counties, two of Delaware’s three counties. For more information about the Delaware State Housing Authority, please call: (888) 363-8808 or visit our website at: www.destatehousing.com.

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Governor Markell signs rent justification law

Photos available on Flickr, video available on YouTube

Measure brings predictability to homeowners’ lives

DOVER – After years of uncertainty surrounding their annual rent increases, Gov. Jack Markell Sunday signed a measure limiting the majority of increases for manufactured housing community residents.

“The work done on this issue by lawmakers and advocates to come together and resolve a challenging issue reflects a theme of the legislative session that will conclude tonight,” Markell said during a Sunday afternoon bill signing ceremony. “I commend the sponsors of this legislation and all of the lawmakers involved for their hard work on a carefully crafted compromise that resulted in broad support, striking a balance between the needs of homeowners and community owners.”

Sen. Bruce Ennis, D-Smyrna, has led the fight for the law is a balanced compromise and said Markell’s signing represents a great day for homeowners.

“It has been a long struggle and I think this is great because it just creates some predictability for people in manufactured homes in regard to rent increases and I think it’s important that we were able to give some protections and predictability,” Ennis said. “It’s very important that we protect the property rights and the investment of the park owners while, at the same time, we’re creating predictable land rents for the tenants.”

Under the new law, community owners could automatically raise rents by the three-year average of the Philadelphia regional consumer price index. If circumstances, such as major capital improvements to a community, caused landowners to seek a higher rent hike, they would have to make their case before the state’s Manufactured Housing Relocation Authority.  The law also provides for arbitration and legal review – if an increase is disputed by either landowners or tenants. It also provides penalties for community owners who continue to raise rents beyond the ceiling.

Unlike traditional residential neighborhoods, where homeowners own both the home and the ground it sits on, homeowners in manufactured housing communities own their homes but rent the land. Unlike stereotypical mobile homes, once a modern day manufactured home is in place, it can be as difficult as a site-built home to move.

Officials say the homes make up about 11 percent of Delaware’s overall housing stock and, in some areas, they represent the best affordable housing choice for many people.

“It’s a unique arrangement,” said Sen. Brian Bushweller, D-Dover, who joined forces with Ennis on the bill.  “I think this is a great day for housing in Delaware because this is a law that recognizes that and takes great pains to ensure basic fairness for both sides. It gives more stability and predictability in budgeting, but it gives landowners a chance to increase rents and a mechanism for bigger increases if they are justifiable.”

Leaders of the Delaware Manufactured Homeowner Association and Land Lease Homeowners Association have been a constant presence at Legislative Hall in support the bill and earlier efforts. State Rep. Paul Baumbach said their willingness to work the issue out was important.

Congratulations to homeowners, DMHOA and LLHC for working together with each other and  legislators and landlords to fix this problem that has been plaguing tens of thousands of Delawareans for many years,” said Baumbach, D-Newark, the bill’s chief House sponsor.

Ed Speraw, president of the manufactured homeowners association, said the signing was a great day for homeowners.

“By doing this, we’ve helped thousands and thousands of manufactured homeowners, and these people needed this bill – badly,” he said. “This law will help thousands of people who might have been forced from their homes through dramatic rent increases keep their homes.”

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Delaware Homeownership Relief Expands Outreach

June 10, 2013 (DOVER, DE) – The Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) and the Delaware Attorney General’s Office joined forces to launch “Delaware Homeowner Relief”, an initiative created using a portion of funds Delaware received through the Multistate Mortgage Foreclosure Settlement between the federal government and five of the nation’s largest mortgage-servicing banks. Most recently, the partnership launched a new website designed to help Delawareans facing foreclosure.  DelawareHomeownerRelief.com was developed with the support of the Government Information Center, and provides information on a wide range of resources for homeowners in distress, including emergency mortgage assistance; manufactured housing lot rent assistance; foreclosure prevention and financial counseling; and, other programs and services unique to Delaware.

Governor Jack Markell praised the new website, calling it a “one-stop shop” for anyone looking for information on resources available to homeowners in Delaware. “This provides vital information so homeowners will know options available to them and where to go to get the help they need,” he said.

“Everyone benefits when we can reduce foreclosures — families keep their homes and neighbors see their home values rise,” said Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden. “This initiative will provide critical resources for homeowners so they can act before it is too late.”

The website is a key part of “Delaware Homeowner Relief,” a partnership between DSHA and the Attorney General’s Office which also supports housing counseling, education and outreach, foreclosure mediation, mortgage fraud investigation and prosecution, emergency mortgage assistance, manufactured housing lot rent assistance, and servicer events, where homeowners can meet personally with representatives from mortgage lenders to work toward a resolution to their mortgage crisis.

“We are very pleased to launch this site to help homeowners faced with the prospect of losing their home get the information they need as quickly as possible,” said DSHA Director Anas Ben Addi.  “Thanks to assistance from the Government Information Center, the new website has an adaptive design that is also easily accessible from a variety of mobile devices and tablets.”

DSHA and the Delaware Attorney General’s office are working together to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to enhance the outreach efforts.  These efforts include multiple messages for a wide variety of outlets such as informational advertisements on TV and radio, billboards, in addition to statewide servicer events, and housing counseling workshops.

Last month, Delaware Homeowner Relief announced the new Manufactured Housing Assistance Program which enables owners of manufactured homes on rented land or on a lot owned by the homeowner to receive payment assistance for past due lot rent and/or home payments up to $5,000.  This Program is expected to help up to 60 Delawareans become current on their lot rent, and avoid eviction from their homes.

For additional information and/or eligibility requirements for programs, please call (888) 363-8808 or visit www.DelawareHomeownerRelief.com.  To find out more about foreclosure prevention programs including the mandatory mortgage foreclosure mediation program, or if you believe you have been the victim of fraud or a scam, call the Delaware Homeowner Relief Hotline toll-free at (800) 220-5424 for information and referrals.