National partnership turns foreclosed and abandoned properties into affordable housing for low-income families
ATLANTA (July 20, 2010) – Habitat for Humanity International and the National Community Stabilization Trust today announced a new national partnership to help turn foreclosed and abandoned houses into affordable Habitat for Humanity homes.
Through the Stabilization Trust’s national Property Acquisition Program, the two-year partnership will give Habitat affiliates the opportunity to purchase foreclosed and abandoned properties from participating financial institutions on a “first-look” basis, before the properties are broadly marketed and listed for open sale.
Habitat will then renovate these homes and sell them as affordable housing to low- and moderate-income families. In order to carry out rehabilitations or repairs, many Habitat affiliates will use funding from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Congress established the program in late 2008 to help stabilize neighborhoods adversely impacted by high levels of foreclosures, vacancy and disinvestment.
Habitat will work through the Stabilization Trust to purchase and renovate hundreds of homes in distressed neighborhoods throughout 2010 and 2011.
“This partnership with the National Community Stabilization Trust is a crucial element in our efforts to revitalize communities across the U.S.,” said Jonathan Reckford, chief executive officer of Habitat for Humanity International. “By rehabilitating and returning foreclosed or abandoned properties to the affordable housing stock, Habitat for Humanity is providing more opportunities to improve the quality of life for families and creating flourishing communities that are safe and appealing places in which to live.”
Craig S. Nickerson, president of the National Community Stabilization Trust, adds “As we expand community access to foreclosed and abandoned properties, it is very important that the Stabilization Trust joins forces with a nonprofit leader like Habitat. As a national supplier of affordable housing, Habitat has a proven track record of success at the grassroots level in generating new and renovated homes in partnership with families in need of affordable housing.”
Habitat affiliates will get “first look” in target markets
Under the new partnership, Habitat affiliates will participate in the Stabilization Trust’s Property Acquisition Program. The partnership will be executed on a national basis over the course of 2010 and 2011 and includes Habitat affiliates participating in HFHI’s Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative. The Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative focuses on improving housing conditions while partnering with other community organizations to provide services that enhance the overall quality of life across struggling neighborhoods.
The ability to take a “first look” at properties through the Stabilization Trust’s Property Acquisition Program is an important tool for many local housing providers undertaking neighborhood stabilization efforts, as it enables them to quickly identify and access properties that may be critical to reversing downward neighborhood trends.
Currently, 130 grantees in HUD’s Neighborhood Stabilization Programs 1&2 in 40 states are participating with the Stabilization Trust program to access the Real Estate Owned inventories of the nation’s largest financial institutions, including Bank of America, Chase, Citi, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, GMAC and Wells Fargo.
The goal of the Stabilization Trust is to promote the revitalization of distressed neighborhoods through the productive reuse of vacant and abandoned properties that when renovated, can be returned to the stock of ownership and rental housing available primarily for low- and moderate-income families.
“The ability to purchase foreclosed houses before they hit the open market positions Habitat to make a bigger impact in communities hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis,” said Stephen Seidel, senior director of global programs for Habitat for Humanity International. “We are excited for the opportunity to help rebuild communities that have been negatively impacted by the foreclosure crisis, while assisting people in need of affordable housing.”
The partnership is made possible by the Citi Foundation, which has supported Habitat initiatives for more than 10 years.
About the National Community Stabilization Trust
The National Community Stabilization Trust is a nonprofit organization that was created to revitalize neighborhoods affected by the foreclosure crisis. The Stabilization Trust facilitates the transfer of foreclosed and abandoned properties from financial institutions nationwide to local housing organizations and provides access to financing in order to promote productive property reuse and neighborhood stability. Formed in 2008 through an unprecedented collaboration of six leading national community development nonprofits, the Stabilization Trust works with state and local governments and community based housing organizations to build capacity to effectively acquire, manage, rehabilitate and sell foreclosed property to expand homeownership and rental housing available to low- and moderate-income families. Visit www.stabilizationtrust.com  to learn more.
About Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built, rehabilitated, repaired or improved more than 350,000 houses worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1.75 million people. For more information, or to donate or volunteer, visit www.habitat.org .