Newly Opened Initiative Helps Philadelphia Families Facing Eviction Stay Put

Monday, April 30, 2018

SUN Foreclosure Prevention Program That's Helped More than 925 Families Comes to Pennsylvania

PHILADELPHIA, April 30, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Philadelphia's foreclosure rate is nearly double the national average. It's the tenth highest in the United States and the trend is not positive: Auction foreclosures in Philadelphia have gone up nearly 13% over the past year. Now, a newly launched program in the state, Boston Community Capital's Stabilizing Urban Neighborhoods (SUN) Initiative, allows homeowners who face eviction in Pennsylvania to apply for foreclosure relief.

"Communities of color, and low-income neighborhoods in cities like Philadelphia, continue to be hardest hit by foreclosures," said Elyse Cherry, CEO, Boston Community Capital. "Boston Community Capital's SUN Initiative helps working class families stay in their homes and helps preserve the stability and vitality of their neighborhoods. We buy troubled homes and sell them back to the homeowners with a mortgage they can afford." 

Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Neighborhoods Still Recovering from the Financial Crisis 
Entire neighborhoods in Pennsylvania have yet to recover from the housing bubble that contributed to the financial crisis. Pennsylvania is one of eight states that, along with Washington, D.C., saw a year-over-year increase in foreclosures in the first half of 2017.

"Foreclosures remain an issue in Pennsylvania, particularly among our most vulnerable populations," said Michelle W. Lewis, President and CEO, Northwest Counseling Service, Inc. "We are pleased to have another option to keep struggling homeowners in their properties. We have already identified a number of cases where these tools can be useful."

According to housing data from RealtyTrac, the percentage of vacant homes in Pennsylvania is more than 10%, with one out of 2049 homes in the state facing foreclosure currently. In Philadelphia, one in every 1074 homes is in foreclosure, the highest foreclosure rate of a major city in Pennsylvania. Some smaller towns, like Folcroft and Sharon Hill, have a foreclosure rate four times the national rate with one in every 395 homes facing foreclosure.

How BCC's SUN Helps Families Facing Foreclosure 
Launched in 2009, Boston Community Capital's SUN Initiative has provided $150 million in financing to help more than 900 families remain in their homes in Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and now Pennsylvania.

SUN works in close partnership with nonprofits and private investors to help families facing foreclosure or eviction remain in their homes. After negotiating to purchase these occupied homes from lenders at distressed market value, SUN sells them back to the original homeowners on the same day, providing a 30-year mortgage with terms they can afford.

Homeowners who have been stabilized through SUN include people from many walks of life: schoolteachers, fire fighters, sales clerks, auto mechanics, veterans and parents of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some of their homes were originally purchased at inflated prices during the housing bubble that contributed to the financial crisis, while others were refinanced into variable rate mortgages. Many of SUN's borrowers were underwater with prior mortgages that were higher than the value of their homes.

Nearly all SUN borrowers make their monthly payments on time, allowing them to stay in their homes, helping to rebuild their credit and enabling them to return to the commercial residential mortgage market. More than 148 SUN borrowers have paid back their loans in full, primarily by refinancing their loans at lower, conventional rates that reduce their monthly mortgage payments.

SUN Meaningfully Reduces a Homeowner's Mortgage: How to Get Help 
On average, SUN financing reduces a homeowner's monthly payment by 31% and reduces their principal balance an average of 34%.

Pennsylvania families who want to learn more about SUN can call toll-free at 855-604-4663/855-604-HOME, email info@sunhomehelp.org and visit www.sunhomehelp.org. Applying for SUN foreclosure relief is free.

What BCC's Already Done in Philadelphia 
Boston Community Capital has contributed to the financing of three significant Philadelphia projects: 1) the "Cathedral Project" at 38th & Chestnut involving new construction and renovation of 41,000 square feet; 2) the new Spectrum Health Center facility with 36,000 square feet on Haverford Avenue; and 3) renovating a 57,000-square foot former Pathmark supermarket in Wynnefield Heights to provide fresh products at low cost and create 185 permanent jobs upon completion.

What People Think About SUN 
The SUN Initiative has been praised by community, elected and financial leaders as a pioneering, sustainable, and scalable strategy for tackling the foreclosure crisis that continues to ravage communities and put a drag on the economy. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke called SUN "an innovative strategy to prevent occupied homes from becoming vacant and creating a strain on the community." The Washington Post described SUN as a "model to save foreclosed homes." Salon called the initiative "a win-win that people in power should have been doing all along."