We welcome Bernell Grier, CEO of Neighborhood Housing Services of New York City, Inc. to the growing list of Contributors to the MKCREATIVEnonprofit Blog. Ms. Grier was appointed CEO in May of last year, having been COO of the housing organization since 2004. She is writing about proposed cuts in government funding to community-development programs.
Each day Neighborhood Housing Services of New York City and its affiliated Neighborhood Offices (NHSNYC) assist homeowners that are facing the potential loss of their homes through foreclosure. Government, at every level, has been the primary funder for many of the foreclosure prevention and intervention programs over the past three years.
Now, despite the fact that the foreclosure crisis continues, government funding that has been effective is threatened to be completely cut at the federal, state, and local level.
The efforts of counseling agencies such as NHSNYC combined with legal services have helped thousands of families to navigate through the process of preserving their homes, their neighborhoods, their future! Many of these homes are two- to four-family properties that upon foreclosure will result in the loss of residency and a stable home for many families.
Proof exist that counseling is effective!the effectiveness of housing counseling (December 2010). The report indicates that homeowners who received housing counseling had almost 70 percent – or 1.7 times – higher relative odds of curing their foreclosure than those who did not; On average, clients who received loan modifications reduced their loan payments by $267 more each month – or more than $3,200 per year – than they would have without housing counseling.
NHSNYC is proud to be part of the planning committee that created the Center for New York City Neighborhoods (CNYCN), an entity formed to address the foreclosure crisis in New York City. NHSNYC’s neighborhood affiliates are Network Partners of CNYCN, contributing to the assistance provided to the thousands of families facing foreclosure. by Michael Hickey, Executive Director, provides data on future foreclosures.
Given the experts’ predictions that we have not yet crested the foreclosure curve, continued funding to assist homeowners with modifications and settlement conferences are vital to stabilizing those homeowners and their communities.
The foreclosure crisis does harm to people and places. Not only are the families devastated by the loss of their primary residence and the ensuing sense of shame and disgrace, but foreclosure results in abandoned buildings and neglect of property. John Taylor of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) says:
The failure to stem the foreclosure crisis affects us all. A foreclosure in your neighborhood reduces your property values; multiple foreclosures compound this problem. As a result, the foreclosure crisis is dragging down property values nationwide, and with it, tax bases and local revenues. The real loser if the federal government does not step up its efforts to make the servicers and the banks prevent foreclosures will be the American people, and state governments that will be left to pick up the pieces. (The full interview is.)
In New York City and throughout the country there are initiatives to stabilize communities. Examples of which can be found on the. My opinion is that the effort to stabilize America’s communities will need to include the support of government in collaboration with the private sector and with the families most affected. No one has come up with a comprehensive solution to solve the crisis, but cutting funding across the board is definitely not the answer.
Bernell K. Grier is CEO of Neighborhood Housing Services of New York City, Inc.