For Immediate Release - June 20, 2013

Undersecretary Gornstein and Commissioner Cotney Bring Commonwealth Housing Week to Brockton

Division of Banks Awards over $98,000 in Grant Money to NeighborWorks Southern Mass

BROCKTON – Today, Undersecretary of Housing and Community Development Aaron Gornstein and Commissioner of Banks David Cotney visited Brockton to award NeighborWorks Southern Mass $98,530 in grant money to promote housing recovery and stability in the region.

“Housing is the cornerstone to economic success in the Commonwealth and the Massachusetts housing market is well on its way to being fully recovered, said Aaron Gornstein, Undersecretary for the Department of Housing and Community Development. “Through key initiatives and collaborations across state government, we continue to ensure a stable and robust housing market for our neighbors and our communities.”

“Centers like NeighborWorks do critical work, providing valuable education to potential home buyers and aiding those who are underwater or may be at risk of foreclosure,” said Barbara Anthony, Undersecretary of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. “Keeping hard working families in their homes rebuilds communities, strengthens local housing markets, and aids in the state’s overall economic growth.”

“There is no doubt that this funding will help keep residents in their homes,” said Brockton Mayor Linda M. Balzotti. “NeighborWorks has always been a great partner in providing assistance to homeowners facing difficulties, and this funding will help them continue their important work.”

The grants were given out on the heels of Governor Deval Patrick’s announcement earlier this week proclaiming June 10-14 as Commonwealth Housing Week.  Throughout the week, the Department of Housing and Community Development and the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation has toured the state, highlighting the recovery of the Massachusetts housing market and the success of the administration’s foreclosure prevention efforts.  As a stipulation of the grant, NeighborWorks Southern Mass will hold monthly group foreclosure counseling sessions and one major public foreclosure counseling event, continue providing Emergency Home Loan Program services, and hold 24-30 home buyer education workshops in 2013.

“We in Massachusetts have been fortunate that our regional housing markets have returned to pre-recession foreclosure levels,” said David Cotney, Commissioner of Banks. “These grants continue to provide vital assistance to those regions most affected by the housing collapse.”

The Division of Banks funds grants for first-time homeownership counseling programs and regional foreclosure educational centers with administrative fees associated with the licensure of mortgage loan originators. Earlier this week, the Division announced that it awarded $1.3 million in grants to 11 regional foreclosure prevention centers and 10 individual/first-time homeownership centers across the Commonwealth.

“Because of the continued funding and support of the Patrick administration, NeighborWorks Southern Mass is able to fulfill our mission of expanding sustainable homeownership,” said Brian Moriarty, Director of NeighborWorks Southern Mass.  “Through our programs of foreclosure counseling and homebuyer education we can help both stabilize and stimulate the housing market. Our experienced staff are trained and certified to provide homeowners and prospective homeowners the practical knowledge to achieve their goals.”

Governor Patrick also announced the Massachusetts Homeownership Compact earlier this week, which creates a goal of providing 10,000 mortgage loans to first-time home buyers over the next five years. The agreement includes a commitment among lenders to originate a specific number of mortgages to first-time home buyers with household incomes below the area median income through the MassHousing and Massachusetts Housing Partnership programs.

 

Commonwealth Housing Week will culminate with a Housing Twitter Town Hall on Friday, June 14 from 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. with Undersecretary Anthony and Undersecretary Gornstein. You can follow Commonwealth Housing Week on Twitter using the hashtag #MAHousingWeek.

Since 2009, Governor Patrick has worked with the Legislature and Congress to direct over $700 million in federal and state tax credits and state housing program subsidies to projects that improve the state's affordable housing, create jobs and build stronger communities. These investments have generated more than 14,000 jobs and 10,000 housing units; 9,000 of which are affordable.

The Department of Housing and Community Development strives to strengthen cities, towns and neighborhoods to enhance the quality of life of Massachusetts residents, promoting safe, decent affordable housing opportunities, economic vitality of communities and sound municipal management.  Follow the Office on Twitter @MA_DHCD.

The Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation is committed to protecting consumers through consumer advocacy and education, and also works to ensure that the businesses its agencies regulate treat all Massachusetts consumers fairly. Follow the Office at its blog, on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer.

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