Lawhawk: A Model Housing Program that Avoids Foreclosure Pitfalls

Posted by Kendall Harmon

That would be New York City's Nehemiah program. The program started about 30 years ago by several church groups in the Bronx who saw row after row of desolation and sought to change it.

The groups set forth strict income guidelines to make sure that the homeowners had a sense of ownership over the homes and that they would fulfill their obligations. Those guidelines mean people are less likely to get in over their heads:

In the 27 years since the program started, fewer than 10 of the 3,900 households have defaulted on mortgages, a rate that is close to zero, said Michael Gecan, a senior organizer with the Metro Industrial Areas Foundation, one of the forces behind the program.

“We demanded down payments,” Mr. Gecan said, “and we resisted government attempts to have us waive down payments. Over the last six or eight years people kept suggesting various programs with zero down. We kept saying, ‘That’s ridiculous — that’s how you get into mass foreclosures.’"

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Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate Market

Posted September 28, 2008 at 6:03 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. John Wilkins wrote:

You know who started this program?  Community organizers.

September 29, 1:43 pm | [comment link]
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