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Loan Program to Help First-Time Homeowners in Clinton Hill and Elsewhere in Brooklyn

December 12, 2011

Clinton Hill Homes

This past month saw the introduction of a national program in the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Clinton Hill, Fort Greene and Bedford-Stuyvesant which will help first time home-buyers to purchase foreclosed properties with the twin goals of reducing the number of vacant homes while also stabilizing the neighborhoods.

Forgivable Loans

The new program is called Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2, and is supported by three separate federal and local organizations, the New York Mortgage Coalition, the Pratt Area Community Council and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. Together they will distribute as much as $80,000 in forgivable loans to first-time homeowners.

Counseling Workshops to Help Homeowners

The prospective homeowners will be required to attend a series of counseling workshops and will also commit to remaining in the neighborhood for at least 15 years. There is no limit at the moment for the program’s funding in Brooklyn; the amount of money distributed is solely dependent on the number of qualified applicants received.

“What we are hoping for is that families will come in and occupy the homes for a long period of time and help stabilize the whole neighborhood,” said Elizabeth Malone, NSP2 project manager for the New York Mortgage Coalition.

High Number of Foreclosures in Clinton Hill

These three Brooklyn neighborhoods were chosen because they are among the hardest hit by the national housing crisis. Census data for 2010 show that these areas have much higher rates of vacated buildings due to foreclosures than other places in New York. Bed-Stuy had 834 cases of delinquency in 2010, the fifth highest of any other city neighborhood. The foreclosure rate in Clinton Hill is not far behind, according to data from the Center of New York Neighborhoods.

In Clinton Hill by itself there will be 189 vacant homes which will be resold in the first steps of the NSP2 program.

At an informational meeting which was held last November 15, Tracy Sneed, age 30, explained why she thinks this program will help her.

“What I think is unique about it is that it’s a forgivable loan towards the amount we actually have to pay to own it,” Sneed said. “My husband is from Bedford Stuyvesant and our son goes to the Co-op School in Clinton Hill so if we buy here we will invest in the neighborhood.”

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