Housing and Urban Planning (Research)

Foreclosure in California, A Crisis of Compliance

Assessor-recorderThe City and County of San Francisco’s Office of the Assessor?Recorder retained Aequitas Compliance Solutions, Inc. to review 382 residential mortgage loan transactions (the “subject loans”) that resulted in foreclosure sales that occurred from January 2009 through October 2011.1 Over this period, there were 2,405 foreclosure sales. The subject loans thus represent approximately 16% of the total. (See Appendix B – Methodology.) We analyzed the subject loans to determine the mortgage industry’s compliance with applicable laws. Specifically, we focused our analysis on important topics relating to six Subject Areas: • Assignments • Notice of Default • Substitution of Trustee • Notice of Trustee Sale • Suspicious Activities Indicative of Potential Fraud • Conflicts Relating to MERS Our Subject Areas and the topics we explore therein may not be exhaustive. Nonetheless, we believe our analysis presents an accurate picture of the nature and frequency of the mortgage industry’s performance respecting compliance with important aspects of California’s nonjudicial foreclosure laws. Overall, we identified one or more irregularities in 99% of the subject loans. In 84% of the loans, we identified what appear to be one or more clear violations of law.

Building Sustainable, Inclusive Communities

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HUDBy David Rusk

HUD’s new “Sustainable Communities Initiative” (SCI) represents the best of the new administration – looking forward creatively towards a new metropolitan future, and crossing bureaucratic silos to engage transportation policy, environmental policy, and housing policy in the same program. However, the SCI program also demonstrates the potential pitfalls of trying to move progressive policies without engaging the real continuing divisions of race and class in our society. We believe that the SCI program has the potential to advance the goal of racially and economically integrated and environmentally sustainable regions. However, to achieve this goal, the program needs to take these issues on explicitly. We are encouraged by recent comments made by HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, DOT Secretary Ray LaHood, and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, who all stated, in effect, that “sustainable must be equitable” at the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference on February 2010. That commitment was memorably reinforced by HUD Deputy Secretary Ron Sims in his inspiring remarks to conclude the conference. HUD and its partners, DOT and EPA, have been provided with very broad latitude in designing the SCI planning grant program through the very general explanatory language of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of December 16, 2009; thus, in terms of developing national models for achieving both greater social justice and enhanced environmental sustainability, HUDDOT- EPA must set the bar very high for the pilot planning grant program – and must take into account their mutual obligation to affirmatively further fair housing in any federal program affecting housing and urban development.

Fostering Equitable Foreclosure Recovery

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Policy Liink - Foreclosures

The foreclosure crisis, which began in 2006 and is ongoing, has left few communities untouched and has been particularly devastating for low-income communities and communities of color. By the time the crisis abates, 10 million homeowners will have lost their homes to foreclosure. Many of them will lose their standing in the middle class and suffer tremendous economic and personal losses. But the crisis does not only affect those who undergo foreclosures themselves. Foreclosures also affect neighborhoods, dragging down the prices of nearby homes, dampening the housing market, and draining cash- strapped municipalities of precious resources. In many hard-hit neighborhoods, another destabilizing force is the wave of investors who swept in and bought much of the distressed property stock. Foreclosures also affect the economy, since strong neighborhoods are integral to the economic health of the regions in which they are located. In the face of the crisis, communities and consumer advocacy organizations have organized around a range of strategies at a variety of scales and points in the foreclosure cycle, including preventing further foreclosures, protecting tenants living in foreclosed homes, holding banks accountable, and reclaiming foreclosed properties for community benefit. They also have taken action to reform the broader financial system that created and perpetuated the crisis.

Their advocacy helped shape the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, created in July 2010 to write and enforce new, transparent standards for mortgages and other financial products. At a time when federal programs are on the chopping block, these organizations have fought against cuts to critical homeownership counseling and foreclosure recovery programs.

While these efforts have been important, too few people have been engaged in this policy debate. All residents have a stake in how their communities recover from the foreclosure crisis, and all should be involved in the search for solutions. Those working to reduce poverty and increase economic and social inclusion, in particular, should contribute their voices to the ongoing discussions and needed reforms.
This report provides essential information to inform policy discussions about foreclosure recovery.

Suburbanization of Poverty in the Bay Area

FRBDespite its persistent association with the "inner city," poverty has shifted toward the suburbs in the San Francisco Bay Area over the past decade. Using data from the 2000 census and the 2005-2009 ACS 5-year estimates, this research brief examines the changing geography of poverty in the Bay Area and its implications for the community development field. Using data from U.S. Census Bureau, this research brief analyzes the changing geography of poverty in the Bay Area, yielding the following conclusions: Household poverty rates have risen across the Bay Area, both in urban and suburban areas. The Bay Area’s total household poverty rate increased 1.1 percentage points during the period of analysis, from 2000 to 2009. The population in poverty rose faster in suburban census tracts and varied across racial groups and nativity status. The number of people living in poverty rose 16 percent in the suburbs, compared to 7 percent in urban areas. Blacks and Hispanics saw the greatest percentage growth in suburban poverty, as did the native?born population. The share of the poor living in suburban tracts has increased across all racial groups, but the change is highest among Blacks. The share of the poor Black population living in the suburbs increased more than 7 percentage points, whereas the next highest group, Asians, increased 2 percentage points. Changes in the percent of urban and suburban residents in poverty also varied between racial categories and nativity status. Poverty rates increased across almost all groups – except Asians and the foreign?born population living in suburban areas. The poverty rates for suburban Blacks and urban Hispanics each rose more than two percentage points. Access to transit decreased for the population in poverty. While the percent of people living within 0.5 miles of a rail station did not change significantly for the total population, it did decrease 1.5 percentage points for the poor population. Furthermore, the percentage of poor people living more than 4 miles from a rail station increased 3 percentage points.

Opportunities for Affordable Housing and Reliable Transit in Santa Clara County and the Bay Area

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Urban Habitat

SC_powerpointWhile Housing Shortage Worsens, Funding is Cut

The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, funds local community development projects 16% cut. HOME Investment Partnerships Program, which helps pay for affordable housing projects, was cut by 35%. HOPE VI and the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, which aim to revitalize distressed public housing by transforming it into mixed-income developments, were slashed by 50%. Redevelopment Funding, the largest source of funding for affordable housing in California, 1.7 billion dollars, completely eliminated.

Cities in Times of Crisis

IURD

The global economic crisis, which began officially on September 15, 2008 due to the bankruptcy of the investment bank Lehman Brothers, has spread throughout a wide range of countries and regions. It has penetrated rural areas and cities, has simultaneously taken over large metropolises and small urban centers, and has caused devastation in neighborhoods as well as in central districts. In short, it has spread over the most diverse geographies. However, the devastating effect of this phenomenon differs considerably among large regions, countries, cities and neighborhoods. In the case of urban locales—this study’s central theme—we can identify cities whose main macroeconomic indicators (employment, production, investment, consumption, public-­sector spending) have suffered considerable deterioration. However, we see at the same time that some urban locales have been able to mitigate the most adverse effects, and still others have emerged from the crisis onto a path of sustained growth.

The Affordable Housing Resource Sheet

Social Equity CaucusUrban Habitat and many ally organizations are working to ensure that SB 375 is equitably implemented throughout the region, and that low-income communities and communities of color are not displaced by transportation investments and land use decisions. The preservation and new construction of affordable housing near existing and planned transit is critical to our anti-displacement work. However, 50 percent of the funding for new affordable housing construction, 75,000 affordable housing rental units, and all of the tools Bay Area cities rely on to provide affordable housing could be lost because of the fiscal situation of the state and federal government. As a result, many Bay Area cities will not have the resources and tools to provide adequate affordable housing for low-income communities and communities of color. There are many organizations actively working to preserve affordable housing throughout the state. Here are some organizations you can contact for more information.

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