Partners (Number 2, 2007)
Partners (Number 2, 2007)Spotlight on the District
Housing Plan Holds Promise for Future
The HillsDale community of Mobile, Ala., has assumed the motto "forging a future" to describe its neighborhood revitalization efforts. Located along one of the area's main transportation arteries and adjacent to University of South Alabama, this once-vibrant neighborhood is embarking on a plan to reclaim its sense of community and attract new residents.
DASH partners in HillsDale revitalization
Spearheaded by the residents and supported by DASH (Dependable, Affordable, Sustainable Housing) for the Gulf Coast, a NeighborWorks® affiliate, the revitalization plan will build 220 new homes and renovate 24 existing homes in the neighborhood. The total investment is estimated at almost $27 million.
Three new model homes were showcased recently to residents, local banks and other stakeholders. They are modular construction with upscale amenities such as oak cabinets and garden tubs making them appear far pricier than comparable site-built affordable homes.
The units range from a two-bedroom, 992-square-foot home priced at $95,000, to a 1,450-square-foot, four-bedroom, two-bath home for $149,000. Buyers can currently choose from seven different floor plans, but DASH will eventually make up to 12 plans available. DASH hopes to attract families displaced by Hurricane Katrina as well as any buyers interested in a revitalized HillsDale.
Unique aspects of plan
In addition to incorporating modular housing, another unique feature of the revitalization plan is the scale and targeted nature of the funding provided by local government.
Rather than parceling out smaller pots of money to various community development projects, the three-member CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) Entitlement Committee made the bold decision to dedicate over $750,000 of the city's $3 million annual CDBG fund to projects in the HillsDale neighborhood. The money will be used to build sidewalks, improve drainage, refurbish a nearby park and help residents with down payment assistance.
Construction of the new homes will begin in mid-November, and DASH anticipates that they will be ready for occupancy by January 2008. Homebuyer training classes will begin in November at the DASH Homeownership Center.
For more information about the development or DASH for the Gulf Coast call (251) 438-7800 or visit the website at www.dashgulfcoast.org.
This article was written by Nancy Montoya, regional community development manager in the Atlanta Fed's New Orleans Branch.
Foreclosure Solutions: Help for Georgia Homeowners
The recent rise in foreclosure activity is a national trend affecting thousands of U.S. households. According to RealtyTrac®, more than 1.2 million foreclosures were filed nationwide in 2006. This issue is of particular concern in the Southeast, where Georgia ranked sixth in the nation in foreclosures last year.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta's Community Affairs office recognizes that foreclosures can have a devastating ripple effect on consumers, financial institutions and the overall community. Combining research, communication and active involvement, the Community Affairs staff has worked with community partners to provide information that will help those affected by foreclosures make more informed decisions.
The Atlanta Fed has responded with two key initiatives: (1) production of a video that presents some of the issues Georgians are facing as a result of foreclosures, and (2) participation in a national foreclosure prevention campaign in partnership with several national, state and local organizations.
Video focuses on Georgia foreclosures
The Bank's foreclosure prevention video provides a national perspective on foreclosure issues with particular emphasis on the foreclosure process in Georgia. Interviews with national and state leaders provide information about resources available to nonprofit agencies that work with consumers to preserve their homes. In addition, Emory Law School professor Frank Alexander explains the expediency of the foreclosure process in Georgia compared to other states.
Perhaps the most important aspect of the video is a segment that highlights several consumers who have faced foreclosure. They describe their predicaments and offer advice for others facing similar problems.
Atlanta Fed partners in
foreclosure prevention campaign
The Atlanta Reserve Bank is an active partner in the NeighborWorks America/National Ad Council Foreclosure Solutions Campaign, which promotes the Homeownership Preservation Foundation's (HPF) national HOPE hotline in Georgia, 1-888-995-HOPE (4673). Operated by HPF and staffed in part by CCCS of Greater Atlanta counselors, the hotline connects homeowners facing foreclosure with free counseling 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The HOPE hotline was launched in Georgia in early 2007. Between January and April 2007, over 6,300 homeowners called the hotline, and approximately 1,500 callers received counseling.
Both of these initiatives are part of the Atlanta Fed's ongoing effort to promote a better understanding of foreclosure issues in the region and to support programs that seek to help affected consumers.
This article was written by Sibyl Slade, regional community development manager at the Atlanta Fed.