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A Second Chance to Build Home Equity

A unique program that stops eviction and maintains homeownership

BlueHub SUN is a nonprofit that works exclusively with families facing foreclosure or eviction to help them save their homes. Since 2009, we have helped more than 1,000 families save their homes for good.

Watch homeowner stories   Get the facts

How BlueHub SUN works

Our program enables homeowners in default or foreclosure on their existing mortgages, who are often facing eviction, to retain or regain homeownership and to continue to live in their homes with a new mortgage they can afford. 

  • Who we serve: All SUN clients are in default or foreclosure and haven’t paid their mortgage– often for a long time. Often times, the bank has foreclosed on the unpaid mortgage and owns the home, and the family is awaiting eviction. Most clients are underwater on their unpaid mortgage, meaning the amount they owe is more than the current value of the home. 
  • Partnering to reach communities: SUN receives referrals from housing counselors, legal aid agencies, other nonprofits and government agencies or representatives, like the offices of Attorneys General, mayors, legislators or city councilors.
  • Advocating for clients: Once potential SUN clients apply and are conditionally approved for a new mortgage, BlueHub SUN advocates for its clients and negotiates with the original foreclosing lender to try to persuade them to sell the home to SUN at a lower price. Throughout this months-long process, SUN staff assists its clients through each step. 
  • Unique financing model: If SUN can get the foreclosing lender to agree, SUN buys the home from the original lender and sells it back to its client at a price they can afford with a fixed-rate mortgage. The homeowner is released from all obligations associated with the prior mortgage. The new loan amount is consistent with the actual value of the home. Now, rather than being underwater, the homeowner has the opportunity to earn equity immediately.
  • Working as an intermediary: SUN clients have a reduced mortgage and are released from debt they never have to pay back. In return, banks and lenders require SUN clients to have a shared appreciation mortgage (SAM), a second mortgage clients pay only if their home increases in value. As a financial intermediary, SUN had to find a way to get banks to agree to work with our clients to maintain homeownership. The SAM dissuades homeowners from purposefully not paying their mortgage to get the benefits offered by SUN. The SAM amount is based on the percentage saved on the previous mortgage.
  • Sustainable success: Most clients have smaller monthly mortgage payments, allowing them to regain their financial footing and reestablish their savings. Over 40% of SUN clients have successfully exited the program, meaning they have paid off their mortgage and SAM, if applicable, and accessed a conventional mortgage, saving them even more money.
  • Supporting our mission: Because we are a nonprofit, money from SAMs is used to further our mission of building healthy communities where low-income people live and work.

Rose Webster-Smith, Springfield

“I could have been evicted with my family if it wasn’t for BlueHub and getting that loan.”

After dealing with multiple medical emergencies, job loss and reduced income, Rose and her husband went into foreclosure in 2011. They lost title to their home, meaning the bank was the legal owner and they were about to be evicted. They entered BlueHub SUN in 2017; SUN negotiated with the bank over several months to purchase their home for a reduced price and then sold it back to Rose. Rose, now the executive director of a social justice nonprofit, and her husband are current SUN clients and have referred several neighbors to the program.

  • Before SUN, she was underwater by: $32,660
  • SUN reduced her mortgage by: $50,000 (33%)
  • SUN reduced her monthly payments by: $400
  • SAM amount owed: $47,000*
  • Home equity earned so far: $100,000*

*As of December 2022

Sellou Coly, Springfield

“I can advocate for SUN for everything because they kept me out of stress and kept my family together.”

Sellou went through a divorce and had trouble paying her mortgage. She went into foreclosure in 2010 and lost title to her home in 2011; the bank owned her home and she was about to be evicted. SUN was able to negotiate a lower sale price with her bank, and SUN sold the home back to her in 2012 with a shared appreciation mortgage (SAM) that reflects the savings she got on her loan. Sellou remains a SUN client and because of her participation in the program, she has been able to regain her financial footing and build significant home equity.

  • Before SUN, she was underwater by: $125,000
  • SUN reduced her mortgage by: $99,000 (42%)
  • SUN reduced her monthly payments by: $380
  • SAM amount owed: $56,000*
  • Home equity earned so far: $95,000*

*As of December 2022

Bonnie Inserra, West Springfield

“I was bound and determined that I was not going to lose my home. Don’t ever give up.”

Bonnie and her husband fell behind on their mortgage after he lost his job in 2010. They tried working with their lender on a loan modification but their mortgage was sold. They went back and forth with their new lender for three years on a new modification before being unexpectedly foreclosed on in 2015; the bank took ownership of the property that same year. In 2017, BlueHub SUN was able to negotiate to buy and sell the home back to them with a new affordable mortgage and a shared appreciation mortgage. Bonnie and her husband are current SUN clients.

  • Before SUN, she was underwater by: $44,000
  • SUN reduced her mortgage by: $53,500 (37%)
  • SUN reduced her monthly payments by: $650
  • SAM amount owed: $41,900*
  • Home equity earned so far: $73,800*

*As of December 2022

How BlueHub SUN Came About

From 2006 to 2012 during the Great Recession, US households lost over $7 trillion in home equity, causing about 22% of all residential mortgages to be underwater. By mid-2011, nearly 8% of all mortgages in the US were over 90-days delinquent and mortgage lenders completed more than 6.3 million foreclosures from 2006 to 2016

Foreclosures have compounding impacts on families and neighborhoods, such as: declining home values for properties nearby foreclosed homes, blight, higher rates of emergency-room visits, worse mental-health outcomes, higher truancy rates and worse educational outcomes among children, and increased homelessness

In 2009, with the foreclosure crisis in full swing, BlueHub developed and deployed a program that succeeded in avoiding foreclosures. BlueHub SUN first started lending in hard-hit neighborhoods in Boston. The program proved successful in enabling homeowners to keep their homes and rebuild equity. SUN was then offered statewide in Massachusetts, and eventually in 10 other states. 

The shared appreciation mortgage is not unique to SUN. The concept was created in the UK in the 1990s and is used in the US by local housing authorities, nonprofits, colleges and universities, and municipalities like Arlington, VA's Moderate Income Purchase Assistance Program and the City of Boulder, CO's H2O loan.

BlueHub, formerly named Boston Community Capital, has won praise for its approach to foreclosure relief. PBS NewsHour detailed the program and its positive impact in Greater Boston. 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 called it "a national model for fighting blight." 

Benefits to SUN Homeowners

BlueHub SUN clients are significantly better off through their participation in the program. More than 400 families—42% of SUN clients—have successfully exited the program with an average of $150,000 in home equity. Most of those 400 families had zero or negative equity in their homes when they entered the SUN program.

Overall, BlueHub SUN has put $60 million in home equity back into homeowners' pockets, $45 million in Massachusetts alone. That personal wealth would have otherwise been lost to foreclosure and/or eviction. 

960

Mortgage loans made to families facing foreclosure or eviction

$602

Average savings on monthly payments

$92,800

Average savings on mortgage principal

558

Mortgage loans made in MA to families facing foreclosure or eviction

$734

Average savings on monthly payments for MA homeowners

$91,052

Average savings on mortgage principal for MA homeowners

How we talk to clients about the shared appreciation mortgage

Disclosures (written, verbal and video explanations) about the shared appreciation mortgage and other key terms of the program are issued 7 times throughout the months-long process from application to closing.

  1. During applicants’ initial phone call with a licensed Mortgage Loan Officer and during a 30-minute application phone call.
  2. Applicants are required to watch a 4-minute informational video (also below) about the SAM and sign a form stating they have watched it before they submit an application.
  3. After the application is taken, applicants must sign written disclosures describing the SUN process and the key program terms, including the SAM.
  4. If the application is approved, clients are sent an “Approved for Negotiations” letter that includes an explanation of the shared appreciation mortgage.
  5. Upon preapproval, BlueHub SUN negotiators hold a telephonic meeting with every applicant where the shared appreciation mortgage is discussed.
  6. A written disclosure is sent after the BlueHub SUN negotiator’s meeting outlining the SAM and stating the percentage of appreciation that will be required to be shared if negotiations are successful and the baseline amount against which any future appreciation will be measured. Clients are required to sign this disclosure. If negotiations are successful and an offer is accepted, applicants are sent the final percentage of appreciation owed when they exit the program.
  7. The SAM is disclosed in a purchase and sales agreement signed by the SUN clients

View this video to see what clients are required to watch before applying to BlueHub SUN

About Elyse Cherry, CEO of BlueHub Capital and architect of BlueHub SUN

Elyse Cherry has served as the CEO of BlueHub Capital since 1997. Under Cherry’s leadership, BlueHub has invested over $2.4 billion, leveraged an additional $12 billion, and built a national tax credit practice to: finance affordable housing, health centers, schools and other community facilities; provide foreclosure relief through the creation of a mortgage lender aimed at stabilizing urban neighborhoods; create jobs; benchmark and drive down energy and utility costs; promote resiliency; and remove financial barriers to US citizenship.

An active civic and business leader, Cherry is a member of the Wellesley College Board of Trustees, the Board of Advisors of Eastern Bank, and Chair of the Board of the Forsyth Institute. She is also on the Board of Directors of The Boston Foundation, where she co-chairs the Advisory Committee for The Equality Fund -- a fund supporting Greater Boston nonprofits that strengthen the LGBTQ community.

Cherry has been named one of 50 most influential Bostonians by the Boston Business Journal, one of the Top 100 LGBT Executives in the World by the Financial Times and OUTstanding, and one of 21 Leaders for the 21st Century by Women’s eNews. In 2014, the White House named Cherry a Solar Champion of Change. She received Wellesley’s Alumnae Achievement Award in 2017, and she received the Susan M. Love Award from Fenway Health in 2014. Boston Globe Magazine and The Women's Edge have named BlueHub Capital one of the Top 100 Women-Led Businesses in Massachusetts every year since 2014.

Read more about Elyse

Under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, it is illegal to discriminate in any credit transaction:

Deny a loan for the purpose of purchasing, constructing, improving, repairing or maintaining a dwelling, or to deny any loan secured by a dwelling; or discriminate in fixing the amount, interest rate, duration, application procedures, or other terms or conditions of such a loan, or in appraising property.

If you believe you have been discriminated against, send a complaint to:

Consumer Finance Protection Bureau
1700 G Street
Washington, DC 20552

1-855-411-2372 (voice), 1-855-729-2372 (TTY)
More than 180 languages available

Under the Federal Fair Housing Act, it is illegal, on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, handicap, or familial status (having children under the age of 18) to:

Deny a loan for the purpose of purchasing, constructing, improving, repairing or maintaining a dwelling, or to deny any loan secured by a dwelling; or discriminate in fixing the amount, interest rate, duration, application procedures, or other terms or conditions of such a loan, or in appraising property.

If you believe you have been discriminated against, send a complaint to:

Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity

Department of Housing and Urban Development

Washington, DC 20410

1-800-669-9777 (voice), 1-800-927-9275 (TTY)

For processing under the Federal Fair Housing Act

Meet more SUN Homeowners