Application Period Now Open for HomeCorps Partnership Grants
Funding A Result Of Multi-State Settlement With Five National Banks In Connection With Illegal Foreclosures And Loan Servicing
BOSTON — In an effort to assist Massachusetts communities in mitigating the impact of the foreclosure crisis, promote home ownership and affordable housing, and revitalize distressed neighborhoods, the Attorney General’s Office has created two new HomeCorps Grants totaling approximately $10 million. This funding is the result of a nationwide settlement involving the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers and their connection with unlawful foreclosures and loan servicing.
The Municipal and Community Restoration Grants and the Crisis Response Innovation Grants are part of the Attorney General’s HomeCorps initiative. The grants are funded as part of $44.5 million in funds obtained for Massachusetts as part of the national settlement with Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and GMAC/Ally. According to the settlement signed earlier this month by a federal judge, the banks are also ordered to provide an estimated $14.6 million in cash payments to Bay State borrowers and $257 million worth of mortgage relief across the Commonwealth.
“We have worked to ensure the best possible outcome for Massachusetts borrowers from this national settlement, and we are continuing our work to provide real relief to borrowers and to hold lenders accountable for their unlawful actions,” AG Coakley said. “These grants should not only help homeowners stay in their homes but will revitalize communities that have suffered the devastating effects of the foreclosure crisis.”
The Municipal and Community Restoration Grants focus on innovative programs that assist and revitalize the communities impacted by the foreclosure crisis. Examples of possible services and programs that will be considered for funding under this grant include:
- Programs to combat the negative consequences of foreclosures on Massachusetts cities and towns including programs to transfer bank-owned or real-estate owned property, or otherwise vacant residential property, to new homeowners or tenants.
- Initiatives to alleviate abandoned housing by transferring housing stock back to productive use, through enforcement, receiverships, or other programs.
- Programs for non-profit organizations or municipalities to purchase distressed properties and return them to utility, whether for new home owners or renters.
- Municipal or other local enforcement efforts to achieve lawful and appropriate maintenance of residential properties owned by creditor banks or others.
The Crisis Response Innovation Grants are designed to assist Massachusetts homeowners and renters impacted by the foreclosure crisis by guarding against future financial harm. Potential services and programs include:
- Programs addressing foreclosure crisis mitigation and homelessness prevention for certain populations, such as families, seniors, or military veterans.
- Programs to reach distressed borrowers in specific communities or geographic regions with high foreclosure risk and connect those borrowers with advocacy services, including those provided through the HomeCorps initiative.
- Programs that spur innovative alternatives to foreclosure and new approaches to maximize the utility and efficiency of such transactions.
- Innovative programs enhancing consumers’ financial literacy around housing issues that are designed to prepare consumers for significant financial decisions and prevent financial exploitation.
- Services to assist foreclosed or evicted borrowers, from obtaining rental shelter to accessing other relevant services and aiding the transition to new housing.
Programs for both grants can be localized, focusing even on individual neighborhoods, or may be statewide.
The number of proposed programs awarded is contingent upon several factors. It is currently estimated that approximately $2 – 4 million will be available for the Crisis Response Innovation Grants and $6 – 8 million for the Community Restoration Grants.
Interested applicants can visit the Attorney General’s website, www.mass.gov/ago/grants, for additional information about the application process and to download application materials. The application deadlines are April 24, 2012 for the Borrower Representation Initiative and May 3, 2012 for the Borrower Recovery Initiative.