For Immediate Release - June 13, 2014

Patrick Administration Brings Second Annual #MAHousingWeek to Worcester

Division of Banks Awards $200,000 in Grant Money to Oak Hill CDC/ NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Center of Central Massachusetts 

WORCESTER – Today, Housing and Community Development Undersecretary Aaron Gornstein and Division of Banks Commissioner David Cotney visited Worcester to award Oak Hill Community Development Corporation/NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Center of Central Massachusetts $200,000 in grant money to promote homeownership and economic growth in the region.

“Oak Hill and other community development corporations have been integral in stabilizing the Massachusetts housing market and spurring growth for our Gateway Cities,” said Division of Banks Commissioner David Cotney.  “We are excited to present these grants and continue the Administration’s efforts to strengthen our local economy for homeowners and their neighborhoods.”

“Housing is the cornerstone to economic success in the Commonwealth,” said DHCD Undersecretary Aaron Gornstein. “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 grant was given out 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 toured the state, highlighting the success of the administration's homeownership compact and economic recovery. 

As a stipulation of the grant, Oak Hill CDC/ NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Center of Central Massachusetts will provide First-Time Home Buyer Classes, First-Time Home Buyer counseling, and conduct aggressive 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. Earlier this week 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.

“We are grateful to the Division of Banks for providing flexible funding to HUD-approved housing counseling agencies like the NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Center of Central Mass and for their key leadership in legislating effective foreclosure prevention strategies state-wide,” said Mullen Sawyer, Executive Director of Oak Hill CDC. “The Division of Banks funding allows our agency to assist homeowners navigate complex finance and legal housing issues, assisting them in avoiding foreclosure.”

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 Division of Banks is an agency within the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation which oversees state-chartered banks and credit unions, check sellers, debt collectors, foreign transmittal agencies, mortgage lenders and brokers.  For more information visit the Division’s website at www.mass.gov/dob or contact the Division of Banks’s Consumer Hotline at 1-800-495-BANK (2265).

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.

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