December 11, 2013 — The Miami Valley Fair Housing Center (MVFHC) announced the beginning of its Inclusive Community Fund (ICF), an effort to reinvest in Miami Valley neighborhoods of color and to counteract the devastating damage resulting from the foreclosure crisis and its aftermath.
The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate in housing based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability or familial status, as well as the race or national origin of the residents of a neighborhood. This law also applies to housing-related activities, including the maintenance, appraisal, listing, marketing and selling of homes.
Funds for the Inclusive Community Fund come from the settlement of a federal fair housing complaint against Wells Fargo Bank. The complaint alleged that foreclosed homes owned by Wells Fargo (also known as real-estate owned homes or REOs) in predominately white communities were much better maintained and marketed by Wells Fargo than were homes in African-American and Latino neighborhoods. MVFHC’s subsequent agreement with Wells Fargo required that Wells Fargo provide funds to promote home ownership, neighborhood stabilization, property rehabilitation, and development in communities of color.
View a PowerPoint presentation summarizing what the Inclusive Community Fund is about
ICF will focus initially on two ZIP codes in the Dayton area that encompass communities of color that have experienced the highest numbers of foreclosures over the past three years: ZIP code 45417 in the City of Dayton and ZIP code 45426 in the City of Trotwood.
MVFHC’s President/CEO, Jim McCarthy, explains, “Poorly maintained REOs in communities of color exacerbate the multitude of racial and ethnic disparities in the highly-segregated Dayton area. We are grateful to be able to bring these resources to the community and to address the blight created by these problems.
To begin the work of the Inclusive Community Fund, MVFHC is announcing the allocation of a combined $553,000 to six partnerships. These groups of partners applied for the funding through a competitive process and will be able to apply to renew these grants when all funds awarded in this first round are exhausted. The first program year is January 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014.
MVFHC has been one of the leaders in helping homeowners deal with the foreclosure crisis. From helping to avoid and to fix predatory loans to helping struggling homeowners renegotiate mortgages so that they are affordable, MVFHC has been central to minimizing the impact of the mortgage crisis in Dayton and the Miami Valley.
The goal of ICF is to begin reclaiming neighborhoods that have been disproportionately impacted and destabilized by predatory mortgage lending, resulting foreclosures, and the blight of vacant, abandoned and neglected REO properties. In order to do so, ICF is working to address the needs of various residents of the neighborhoods:
- Long-term residents who have seen the equity in their homes eroded by the myriad of foreclosures surrounding their homes;
- Residents who have no other access to capital for home repairs, renovations, and improvements;
- First-time homebuyers and others who are willing to move into and invest in the neighborhoods;
- Civic, fraternal and/or social organizations that work in the neighborhoods to increase the quality of life for residents.
Dayton City Commissioner Nan Whaley said, “With the funding from the Inclusive Community Fund, MVFHC will become a leader in the effort to repair the damage from the mortgage crisis. Piloting this project in the Westwood neighborhood and the surrounding 45417 ZIP code, this effort will move from limiting damage to helping a neighborhood heal from the disinvestment and other negative consequences of the mortgage crisis.
“Dayton is fortunate,” Whaley continued, “to have MVFHC, its CEO Jim McCarthy, and the rest of MVFHC’s staff, who are on the cutting edge nationally of minimizing the impact of the mortgage crisis. Now they are leading the way nationally in efforts to recover from the mortgage crisis. Westwood and the entire community will benefit from this innovative pilot project. As mayor-elect, I look forward to working with MVFHC during my administration to address this and other housing issues in Dayton.”
One of the key components of the Inclusive Community Fund includes a capacity-building initiative with the Wesley Community Center (WCC) to stabilize WCC and move it forward in its mission. For the past 47 years, WCC has served the West Dayton community and the Miami Valley with the mission of “Helping Others through God-centered Principles.” WCC has earned its reputation as a reliable, committed, faith-based organization that cares for families and individuals experiencing personal crises.
“For decades Wesley Community Center has worked to uphold the community safety net by pressing for environmental and economic justice. The Inclusive Community Fund speaks to opportunity and hope for Dayton’s social economic future by investing in families’ most foundational needs,” said Harry Tay, WCC’s executive director.
ICF has been warmly embraced by residents, local organizations and local elected officials, as demonstrated by the additional statements of support below.
Montgomery County Commissioner Judy Dodge said, “I applaud the Miami Valley Fair Housing Center for diligence during the Dayton region’s foreclosure crisis. The communities that were most affected will now be able to reap the benefits of MVFHC’s perseverance and foresight through the Inclusive Community Fund.”
“The City of Trotwood is deeply grateful to MVFHC for its organizational commitment, perseverance, and ongoing pursuit off remedies which will over time begin to reverse the devastating neighborhood impacts in Trotwood, resulting from egregious mortgage lending practices and culminating with the current foreclosure crisis,” said Trotwood City Manager Michael J. Lucking.
Lucking continued, “A result of the leadership put forth by MVFHC is the development of the Inclusive Community Fund, which will serve to begin the long-term process of neighborhood reinvestment and renewal. In addition, ICF will also serve as an important reminder to our institutional lending community that they must always embrace practices which support neighborhoods.”
“Reaching a resolution with Wells Fargo is a tremendous accomplishment for MVFHC and the Dayton region but pales in comparison to the good work that is being done right here in the neighborhoods most affected by predatory lending and the resulting foreclosures,” said Debbie Lieberman, Montgomery County Commissioner.
“As a former County Clerk of Courts and as County Commissioner, I know MVFHC has been the most effective agency battling the foreclosure crisis on behalf of the county’s citizens,” said Dan Foley, Montgomery County Commissioner. ”Today's creation of the Inclusive Community Fund by MVFHC will result in stronger families and stronger neighborhoods.”
The partnerships and their grant activities are:
HomeOwnership Center of Greater Dayton (HOCGD) and Wright-Patt Credit Union (WPCU) — Down payment assistance to homebuyers in ZIP codes 45417 and 45426. Using ICF funds, this partnership will work in these ZIP codes to stabilize home values and encourage new investment by owner-occupied residents. Through this partnership, ICF will provide up to a 20% equity contribution in the form of down payment assistance, with a target of provided funding for approximately fifty homes. Highlights of the partnership include terms that allow for minimum borrower contributions, no mortgage insurance coverage requirements due to 20% down payment, up to 80% Loan-to-Value ratios, 30-year fixed rate amortization, and borrower’s income at or below 200% of the HUD area median income (AMI) for Montgomery County, which equates to approximately $120,400 for a family of four.
“Wright-Patt Credit Union believes home ownership is one of the most important way for Main Street Americans to build and accumulate wealth. In addition, and equality as important, home ownership builds strong communities. Thus we are especially pleased and proud to be participating in MVFHC’s efforts with the Inclusive Community Fund to help rebuild our neighborhoods,” said Tim Mislansky, WPCU’s senior vice president and chief lending officer.
Beth Deutscher, HOCGD’s executive director, added, “We are very excited about collaborating with MVFHC on this important project. The down payment assistance component is designed to encourage successful homeownership in the target areas, which is a win-win-win for the neighborhoods, for buyers and for the local economy.”
Dayton Ohio Habitat for Humanity — Critical home repair/rehabilitation targeted to existing single family owner-occupied homes in ZIP codes 45417 and 45426, with special emphasis on reaching seniors and veterans, to provide extensive interior or exterior work to alleviate critical health, life and safety issues or code violations. Repairs will be made using grants, backed by five-year silent subordinate mortgages, 100% of which will be forgiven after 60 months. Homeowners who are at or below 200% of AMI are eligible to receive assistance.
Rebuilding Together Dayton —
House repair/rehabilitation targeted to existing single family owner-occupied homes in ZIP codes 45417 and 45426, who are at or below 200% of AMI.
Accessibility modification targeted to existing single family owner-occupied homes in ZIP codes 45417 and 45426, who are at or below 100% of AMI and are disabled or elderly, needing modifications to their homes to enable them to more fully use and enjoy their residence and/or to age in place. Examples include the installation of aluminum modular ramps for people who use wheelchairs, bathroom modifications, and installation of grab bars, etc.
Repairs and modifications will be made using grants, backed by five-year silent subordinate mortgages, 100% of which will be forgiven after 60 months.
CountyCorp — Home improvement loan program targeted to existing single family owner-occupied homes in ZIP codes 45417 and 45426. This program is specifically different from repair/rehabilitation, targeting not emergency repairs but rather home improvements such as additions, energy efficient upgrades, right of way improvements, exterior improvements to the front and sides of houses, and interior improvements such as kitchen and bath upgrades. This is not an all-inclusive listing of eligible home improvements; therefore CountyCorp may be required to determine eligible improvements on a case-by-case basis.