Monday, September 28, 2009

Affordable Loan Product Matrix Available Online

For over a decade the MN Home Ownership Center has produced the “Affordable Loan Product Matrix”, to inform non-profit housing counselors of affordable loan programs available to their clients.

Designed to assist low- to moderate-income homeowners with the purchase of their first home, the matrix generally includes loan programs that have flexible underwriting guidelines, allow higher LTV limits, lower buyer investment and require homebuyer education and/or counseling.

Now, for the first time, the Center is making the Affordable Loan Product Matrix available to the general public - - and will be an especially helpful tool for real-estate industry and lending professionals.

The matrix can be found on the Center's website

If you are a homeowner interested in purchasing your first home... feel free to browse the matrix - - but we also recommend that you speak with a housing counselor to see which, if any, of the programs listed are best suited for YOU. A non-profit housing counselor (also known as a Home Stretch Counselor) can work with you to make sure that you are ready for successful home ownership. For more information, click here.

The Center continues to develop an Entry Cost Assistance Matrix (Down-payment and closing cost assistance, grants & programs) as well. More information will be posted soon.

Fox-9 Community Connection Focuses on Foreclosure

With the help of Roxanny Armendariz from the Neighborhood Development Alliance, homeowners Jose and Juana Gonzalez, along with their 4 children, were able to avoid foreclosure after Roxanny was able to mediate an affordable loan modification for the Gonzalez family.

Their story - including the difficulties the Jose and Juana experienced while trying to work with their lender is part of the focus of the most recent "Community Connection" segment on Fox-9.

For additional information about the segment... including links to an on-line interview with Roxanny about the work she does assisting clients, click here.

The segment will air again on Saturday, October 11th at 9 a.m on WFTC channel 29.

If you're facing a possible foreclosure... and struggling to work with your lender - - the Center's network of FREE, non-profit foreclosure counselors can help. To find your local counselor, click here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Foreclosure Postponement on Kare-11

Minnesota's foreclosure postponement law was the focus of the "Take KARE of Your Money" segment on Wednesday, September 24th on the Kare-11 news.

Cheryl Peterson from Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity - one of the Center's partners in foreclosure prevention - was interviewed for the piece.

You can view the segment, on the Kare-11 website, here.

The Center is currently working on a video Q & A segment about foreclosure postponement that will be available soon!

For additional written information about foreclosure postponement, including the steps to take to request a postponement and the required paperwork, click here.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Updated Fact Sheet: Mortgage Debt Forgiveness

The Minnesota Home Ownership Center has recently updated its Fact Sheet: "Mortgage Debt Forgiveness - Key Facts"

In late December 2007, Congress passed legislation changing the tax code relating to mortgage debt forgiveness. Ordinarily, debt forgiveness – including short sales, short refinances, deed-in-lieu of foreclosure or other ways lenders forgive debt owed - counts as taxable income. The legislation from 2007, which was recently extended an additional three years (through 12/2012), changes the tax code, offering an exception specifically targeted for home mortgage debt forgiveness. Minnesota homeowners need to know that there are MANY stipulations in the legislation.

You can view a copy of the fact sheet here.

The Center has also produced a number of additional fact sheets on:

These facts sheets are available to the public and can be freely downloaded from the Center's website.

The fact sheets can be found here and here.

They are also available in Spanish, here and here.

Center Participates in KFAI's Housing & Foreclosure Forum

This past Saturday, September 19th, as part of their "Strive to Thrive" series, radio station KFAI and the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder newspaper hosted a conference at the Sabathani Community Center focusing on issues surrounding the housing & mortgage foreclosures in the Twin Cities.

The Center, and several of our network partners, participated in the event.
Minneapolis City Councilwoman (Ward-9) Elizabeth Glidden opened the day:

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Cheryl Peterson, from Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, one of the Center's network partners in foreclosure prevention addressed the crowd:

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Here's the Center's booth/stand for the day:

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The event was videotaped... as soon as we have access to the video and/or audio of the day's presentations, we will update this post.

Friday, September 18, 2009

MBA Highlights "Safe at Home"

In the September, 2009 issue of the "Minnesota Bankers Association News", the MBA has highlighted the Center's "Safe at Home: Preventing Foreclosures" documentary that was co-produced with Twin Cities Public Television and PRG, Inc.

(Click either image to enlarge)

The piece highlights how bankers, and others engaged with their local communities, can use the toolkit the Center has created to assist with outreach to local residents that might be falling behind in their mortgage payments.
For more information about the documentary and the toolkit that YOU can use to help us reach struggling Minnesotans, click here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

HECAT Funding Awards Announced

Minnesota is unique in that there is a dedicated pool of funds that provides financial support to eligible non-profit organizations to deliver a variety of homebuyer/homeowner education, counseling and training services to Minnesotans. This dedicated pool is known as HECAT (The Homeownership Education, Counseling and Training Fund).

Some of the services that are HECAT funded include:
  • pre-purchase education and counseling (Home Stretch),
  • post-purchase education and counseling,
  • home equity conversion counseling (Reverse Mortgages) and
  • foreclosure counseling

Funds for HECAT come from four funding partners:
Each of the four funding partners contributes financial resources and participates in the grant-making process.

Additional information about HECAT can be found here.

A complete list of organizations that have been granted HECAT funds for the 2009-2010 program year is available here. (PDF Document)

Fox-9 News Highlights Foreclosure Workshops

On Tuesday, September 14th, Fox-9 News at 10:00 highlighted the upcoming series of Foreclosure Information Workshops that the Center is hosting in partnership with Hennepin County, Hennepin County Libraries, and several other community based organizations.

You can view the Fox-9 report here.

At these workshop, homeowners and renters, can learn about the foreclosure process, what kinds of helps and assistance are available in Minnesota and nationally, including information on the "Making Home Affordable" program and meet with a non-profit Foreclosure Specialist, representatives from Hennepin County Taxpayer Services, and attorneys specializing in Renter Advocacy. In addition, attendees will be able to set up an appointment for a more personalized, in-depth discussion at a later time.

For a flyer on upcoming workshops, click here.

To view these, and other events the Center has scheduled, for both homeowners and professionals, click here.

COMING SOON: The Center is also conducting similiar workshops in partnership with the City of St. Paul, the St. Paul Mayor's office and St. Paul Public Libraries. Information will be available soon on our homeowner events page, here.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Center at the MN Mortgage Association Convention

On Thursday, September 10th, 2009, the Minnesota Home Ownership Center participated in the 2009 Annual Convention and Expo “Front Row Seats for Change”.

Here's our booth at the event:

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In addition, Julie Gugin, the Center's Executive Director, partnered with Keenan Raverty of Bell Mortgage to facilitate the panel discussion with Minneapolis and St. Paul Mayors R.T. Rybek and Chris Coleman. Our previous post on the lunchtime discussion here.

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During the event the Center held a contest where new subscribers to our electronic newsletter could win a $25.00 gift certificate to Target. We've drawn the winning names... congratulations go out to:

  1. Mahendra Saraswate of Phoenix Mortgage, LLC

  2. Tom Kedrowski of Lakeland Mortgage Corp.

  3. C.J. Kurtz of Bell Mortgage

  4. Anne Carter of Summit Mortgage Corporation

Congrats! You'll be receiving your gift cards shortly!

If you don't already subscribe to the Center's electronic newsletter - chock full of information on affordable housing issues, pre-purchase programs, foreclosure prevention articles and much more, you can sign up here.

You can view the archive of past issues here.

The Center would like to thank the MN Mortgage Association for inviting us to participate in their annual event. Thank you!

Friday, September 11, 2009

GAO Report On Non-Prime Mortgages

This summer, The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report on the “Characteristics and Performance of Nonprime Mortgages”. This report includes the number of seriously delinquent (90+ days) in every state and every congressional district in the country.

In addition, the report has a ton of useful information about the prevalence of non-prime mortgages as well as information about borrower types and loan characteristics of the non-prime loans that were originated between 2000 and 2007. For example, nationally, between 2000 and 2007, 33% of subprime loans, and a staggering 70% of Alt-A loans were “no-doc” loans. Complicating matters for consumers who would like to refinance, 72% of all sub-prime loans, and 37% of Alt-A loans had a prepayment penalty.

The 57-page report can be downloaded free at the GAO website here.

Here are some highlights about Minnesota from the report:

Status of Nonprime Loans Originated from 2000 through 2007
by Congressional District as of March 31, 2009

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Percentage of 2000-2007 Nonprime Loans
in Different Status Categories

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Foreclosure Referral Workshop in Faribault County

The Faribault County Economic Development Authority and the Minnesota Home Ownership Center are partnering to offer a free "Foreclosure Prevention Information and Referral" workshop for professionals in Faribault County - and all of southern Minnesota.

The 90-minute training will provide an overview of the foreclosure process, where to refer homeowners and information on how to prepare them to talk with a housing counselor or loan servicer.

Who should attend? Staff from public, private, governmental and non-profit organizations who come in contact with distressed homeowners are invited to attend this training. This may include social workers, real-estate agents, librarians, clergy, etc. This session is NOT designed for struggling homeowners.

Date: Thursday, October 1st 2009, 10:00 - 11:30am

Location: Wells Community Center, Wells, MN

Additional information, including maps & driving instructions, or to register, visit:

Would you like to host a workshop for your staff or for other professionals in your area? Contact Ed Nelson at the Minnesota Home Ownership Center for more information.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Minneapolis & St. Paul Mayors to Address MN Mortgage Association Convention

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak will offer lunch-hour remarks at the MMA Convention beginning at noon on September 10 at the Hyatt Downtown Minneapolis.

Additional information about the MMA Convention can be found at the MN Mortgage Association website here:

A limited number of passes for the lunch-hour remarks are available, on a first-come, first-served basis, for organizations that cannot afford the MMA Convention admission. If interested, please contact Keenan Raverty at: 612-209-2650.

The Minnesota Home Ownership Center will be participating in the convention... feel free to stop by booth #14 and introduce yourself!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Ed Nelson on KFAI's 'Truth to Tell"

The Minnesota Home Ownership Center's Ed Nelson joined Andy Driscoll and Lynnell Mickelsen on their Wednesday, September 2nd "Truth to Tell" show entitled: HOME FORECLOSURES II: Homelessness is More Acceptable?

Here's the show's description from KFAI:

With the public discussion focused on health care and little else comes news that the foreclosure crisis isn't going away - at least no time soon. A relatively new study of foreclosure rates in Minnesota has been a product of a symposium presented by Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) at the UofM's Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. Meanwhile the street battle to save Rosemary Williams and others from eviction continues to challenge the powers who would make them all homeless. The question is: what use is it to send struggling homeowners into the streets, vacating properties and blighting neighborhoods while those same owners become essentially wards of the community and shelters if they can find no reasonable alternative housing in their cities.

You can listen to the audio tape of the program:
  • MP3 Format: Here
  • RealAudio (RM) Format: Here
If you're facing foreclosure... take action NOW. There is a network of FREE foreclosure prevention specialists that are ready, willing and able to assist YOU. Click here for more information.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Pre-Purchase Housing Counselor Training

The Minnesota Home Ownership Center is offering Pre-purchase Housing Counselor Training for housing professionals that provide counseling in Minnesota, or other professionals interested in pre-purchase counseling.

The training is designed for new housing counselors with some pre-purchase experience. Participants will learn to assist consumers in resolving barriers to homeownership. Activities include:
  • assessing mortgage readiness,
  • prequalification,
  • reviewing credit reports and
  • other key counseling components.
Participants interested in obtaining certification must complete the training and pass the in-class exam.

The deadline for registration, at a cost of $330 is Friday, September 4, 2009.

Late registration (with the Center's permission only) is $380.

Registration priority will be given to current Home Stretch providers.

For more information, or to register, visit: