Summer 2002, Volume 12, Number 1

in community and economic development
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
Volume 12, Number 1
Summer 2002

In This Issue

Foreclosure Prevention

Aging in Place

Smart Growth and Affordable Housing

Changes to Regulation Z Expand Loans Subject to HOEPA

Conference Information

About This Issue

Changing Neighborhoods

Neighborhoods can change for better or worse over time. People can change too, like deciding to move in or out of a neighborhood based on starting out in life, relocating, upsizing, downsizing, or simply desiring another place where they’d like to live.

The natural ebb and flow of a neighborhood is part of life. What shouldn’t be a part of life, however, is when a person is forced to move away from a neighborhood against their will due to preventable factors.

This issue of Partners explores some dynamics of changing neighborhoods. In the more immediate sense, we bring to light some practical ways that foreclosure can be prevented when a borrower gets into financial trouble.

The Federal Reserve’s Community Affairs function has always promoted partnerships. In addition to the goals of increasing affordable housing and promoting economic development, there’s also a great need for sustaining existing low- and moderate-income homeownership, especially when financial problems reach a level where foreclosure could occur.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s foreclosure prevention workshops have helped bring to light some basic principles of partnering in ways that lead to not only troubled homeowners keeping their homes, but lenders stemming potential losses.

Financially strapped homeowners are not limited to those who have a mortgage. Even seniors who own their homes are sometimes forced out of their long-time neighborhoods against their will because their fixed incomes aren’t able to keep pace with rising costs of homeownership or health care. These issues are discussed in an article on “aging in place.”

Finally, neighborhood changes are also a factor of lifestyle choices. Urban sprawl has been the subject of much discussion, and such growth has led to the permanent demise of farmland and natural habitats at rates that exceed the overall population’s growth rate.

While environmental aspects and resulting urban impacts are familiar to arguments on all sides of the issue, absent from many discussions is the component of affordable housing in smart growth. This subject is evaluated in our last article.

We hope you find these topics interesting and informative. As stated, it’s in partnerships and collaboration that we can often be the most effective in making changes that bring about positive results. While none of us has individual power to prevent neighborhoods from changing, together we can support sound policies and practices that can help make our communities stronger.

- Editor