For Immediate Release - June 11, 2014

Patrick Administration Brings Commonwealth Housing Week to Lawrence

Consumer Affairs Awards over $200,000 to Homeowner Programs

LAWRENCE – Today, Housing and Community Development Deputy Undersecretary Arthur Jemison and Division of Banks Commissioner visited Lawrence to award $139,956 the Home Preservation of the Merrimack Valley, $57,757 to Arlington Community Trabajando, Inc. (ACT) and $29,727 to Lawrence Community Works in grant money to promote homeownership and economic growth in the region.

“The economic vitality of urban centers relies on a stable housing climate. Regional foreclosure prevention centers like Lawrence Community Works and homeownership centers like ACT make a real impact on the lives of its neighbors through financial and homeownership counseling,” said Commissioner of Banks, David Cotney.

“Housing is the cornerstone to economic success in the Commonwealth,” said DHCD Deputy Undersecretary Arthur Jemmison. “Through key initiatives and collaborations across state government and with our local partners, we continue to ensure a stable and robust housing market for our neighbors and our communities. Expanding and preserving affordable housing opportunities for families and seniors with modest incomes is especially important.”

The grants were delivered at the Lawrence Community Works Our House Campus as part of the Second Annual Commonwealth Housing Week, June 9 -13, memorialized in a proclamation delivered by Governor Deval Patrick.  Throughout the week, the Department of Housing and Community Development and the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation are touring the Commonwealth to highlight the success of the administration's homeownership compact and economic recovery. 

As a stipulation of the grant the recipients will provide First-Time Home Buyer Classes, First-Time Home Buyer counseling, and conduct community outreach to provide at-risk home buyers with the tools and information they need to successfully purchase and maintain a home.

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. Yesterday the Division announced that it awarded $1.5 million in grants to 11 regional foreclosure prevention centers and 10 individual/first-time homeownership centers across the Commonwealth.

“Arlington Community Trabajando provides free counseling and other necessary tools, such as home ownership education workshops, foreclosure prevention and financial coaching. Funding from the Massachusetts Division of Banks supports ACT’s goal to counsel, educate and support home buyers to become successful homeowners,” said Ana Luna, Executive Director of ACT, Inc.

Commonwealth Housing Week will culminate with a Housing Twitter Town Hall on Friday, June 13 at 11 a.m. with Consumer Affairs Undersecretary Barbara Anthony and Housing and Community Development Undersecretary Aaron 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 on Twitter, @Mass_Consumer.