WASHINGTON, DC - Rebuilding Together, NeighborWorks America and the National Community Stabilization Trust have joined together in a new collaborative effort to support homeownership and sustainable communities across the country through the rehabilitation of vacant Real Estate Owned (REO) properties. Although the nonprofit organizations have previously worked together, this announcement marks a new three-year partnership that will allow the groups to collaborate on new and innovative approaches to transforming vacant and dilapidated properties into safe and decent affordable homes in the communities they serve.
The joint initiative focuses on three keys areas. The first is providing training to build capacity among local Rebuilding Together affiliates to successfully operate programs to acquire, rehabilitate, and resell REO properties to help stabilize communities affected by foreclosure. The second prong is the expansion of NeighborWorks America's Loan Modification Scam Alert campaign, an effort that helps homeowners to protect themselves against loan modification scams, to communities served by Rebuilding Together affiliates. Finally, the partnership will provide one local Rebuilding Together affiliate with an opportunity to participate in the NeighborWorks America board governance program, which trains nonprofits to more effectively leverage existing tools and resources to bolster the performance of their governance boards.
"Today's announcement between NeighborWorks America, the National Community Stabilization Trust, and Rebuilding Together brings together three of the nation's most experienced affordable housing nonprofits and leverages the unique skills and experience of each organization to help transform low-income neighborhoods devastated by the housing crisis," said Gary A. Officer, president and CEO of Rebuilding Together. "It also provides excellent resources to Rebuilding Together, as we expand our capacity to transforming REOs and complements the ongoing work of our mission by providing safe and healthy housing."
One area of specific focus of the partnership is expanding Rebuilding Together's REO program. As part of an asset-building strategy for its affiliates, Rebuilding Together is establishing a pilot REO fund to help its local affiliates acquire and remediate REO properties. Fully rehabbed, these properties will be sold at affordable prices to low- or moderate-income home buyers in the community. NeighborWorks America will support these efforts by linking Rebuilding Together affiliates with local NeighborWorks Organizations that provide homeownership education and counseling to prospective homebuyers. The National Community Stabilization Trust will provide Rebuilding Together affiliates with access to listings of REO properties and other services to support the identification and acquisition of the properties to be resold.
"Homebuyer education and counseling is a critical part of sustainable homeownership," said NeighborWorks America CEO Eileen Fitzgerald. "Homebuyer education that is provided through this partnership gives potential new homeowners the information that they need to navigate through the mortgage process, and to fully understand the financial responsibilities of homeownership."
"Bringing stability back to neighborhoods hard hit by foreclosures will take new innovative collaborations between partners with the insight, resources, and expertise to impact change," said Craig Nickerson, President of the National Community Stabilization Trust. "That's why we are pleased to join forces with Rebuilding Together to take back our neighborhoods from foreclosures and abandonment."
Rebuilding Together is the nation's leading nonprofit organization working to preserve affordable homeownership and revitalize neighborhoods by providing extensive rehabilitation and modification services to those in need at no cost to those served. With the help of everyday citizen volunteers, skilled tradespeople, the support of local business and major corporate partners, Rebuilding Together affiliates in America's largest cities and smallest towns make life considerably better for thousands of low-income homeowners and the communities in which they live by completing 10,000 projects per year. Rebuilding Together has programs dedicated to energy efficiency, veterans' housing, aging in place and Gulf Coast reconstruction.
NeighborWorksAmerica creates opportunities for people to improve their lives and strengthen their communities by providing access to homeownership and to safe and affordable rental housing. In the last five years, NeighborWorks organizations have generated more than $19.5 billion in reinvestment in these communities. NeighborWorks America is the nation's leading trainer of community development and affordable housing professionals.
The National Community Stabilization Trust is a national nonprofit organization that was created to help revitalize neighborhoods affected by the foreclosure crisis. Formed in 2008 through an unprecedented collaboration of six leading national community development non-profits, the Stabilization Trust builds capacity of state and local governments and community-based housing organizations to effectively acquire, manage, rehab and sell foreclosed property. By coordinating the transfer of foreclosed and abandoned properties from key financial institutions nationwide to local housing providers, the Stabilization Trust is able to ensure distressed properties are put back into productive use as affordable homeownership and rental housing available to low- and moderate-income families. The Stabilization Trust also provides short term financing to for property acquisition and rehabilitation.