June 28, 2010
Community partners are absolutely essential to the Portland Housing Bureau's work to make sure every Portlander has a safe, decent, and affordable place to call home. Recently, North and Northeast Portland leaders told us about a troubling trend of long-standing, low-income homeowners experiencing legal complications like cloudy title and probate issues, preventable foreclosures related to property taxes and Medicaid recovery, predatory lending, and unaffordable home maintenance.
Community leaders also shared with us that these homeowners, particularly seniors and members of communities of color, may have barriers to accessing existing community programs that could help.
In March, PHB publicized the availability of more than $100,000 for community-based organizations that help low-income senior homeowners in North and Northeast Portland retain their home equity and stay in their homes.
Last week, PHB proudly announced that the Minority Homeownership Assistance Collaborative (MHAC) - a partnership of the African American Alliance for Homeownership, Hacienda CDC, Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA), and the Portland Community Reinvestment Initiative (PCRI) - has been awarded $120,000 to help homeowners at risk for foreclosure keep their homes.
This grant will enable MHAC to help about 80 homeowners navigate the resources they need to stay in their homes. “Funding from this grant is crucial in helping some of our most vulnerable community members be able to maintain homeownership and have a legacy to pass to the next generation,” says Deborah Turner, Deputy Director of PCRI, the lead organization in the MHAC partnership.
Says PHB Director Margaret Van Vliet, “coalition members have strong ties to the African-American, Latino and Native American communities, and are well-positioned to provide culturally competent services to homeowner elders who may be worried about their homes. MHAC has an extended network of contacts and large amount of trust in the community, as well as a solid infrastructure of programs and staff."
The program will launch this Summer. If you are a homeowner seeking help, call PCRI at (503) 288-2923 and ask for the Homeownership Retention staff.
Pictured above: PCRI staff members Charles Funches and Deborah Turner