At Community Development Corporation of Utah, our work would not be possible without the many tremendous partners we enjoy. From our local government stakeholders like Salt Lake County, Salt Lake City, Murray City, West Valley City, City of South Salt Lake, Myton City, and others, to our many wonderful bank partners (too many to list here), to our Utah-based charitable foundations. With deep cuts in the federal and municipal budgets to affordable housing and neighborhood revitalization programs, our bank and foundation friends have helped fill the funding gap, allowing us to continue to serve low- and moderate-income families and communities in need. We are profoundly grateful to them.
Last week, we were honored to add the Sorenson Legacy Foundation to our list of partners. Founded by the late biotechnology pioneer and entrepreneur James LeVoy Sorenson and his wife, education philanthropist Beverley Taylor Sorenson, the Foundation provides support for a wide range of endeavors, from community development and education to health care, scientific and artistic pursuits. In our case, the Sorenson Legacy Foundation has provided a seed grant for implementation of the Green & Health Homes Initiative Salt Lake, a comprehensive strategy for creating healthy, safe, and energy efficient homes for low-income families, which is led by a coalition of public and private partners, including CDCU, a founding member. Thank you Sorenson Legacy Foundation, and our other great partners!
Yesterday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released its new mortgage rules, intended to limit the subprime lending that caused the housing and finance bubbles to burst in 2007. Subprime lending, or non-conforming loans, has been around for a long time, but grew dramatically during the ten years leading to the crash, as banks developed products to serve homebuyers who did not meet Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac underwriting guidelines for prime mortgages. The most common type of subprime loan was an adjustable rate mortgage, the interest rate for which could often be changed at the discretion of the lender without regard to any underlying index, usually after some low-rate, initial period intended to entice the buyer. Millions of borrowers committed to loans they later could not afford, and the result was the worst economic collapse in generations.
What followed was a powerful recoil in credit availability. Tight qualifying standards have limited recovery and growth as banks, non-governmental organizations, and government reeled to limit further damage.
The new rules define what are called “qualified mortgages,” in hope of protecting buyers and banks, and further unlocking mortgage financing. Among other things, they require a 43 percent total homebuyer debt-ratio, cap upfront fees at three percent, and do not allow loans to balloon. If lenders comply, they are rewarded with significant legal protection from homebuyer lawsuits (which is certain to appeal to an industry already fined billions of dollars for improper lending and loan review practices). Banks have until January 2014 to comply with the new rules.
The rules mean that many types of borrowers will no longer be able to qualify for mortgages. What is more, there is sure to be a lag as banks adopt the rules. These factors will combine to keep mortgage lending sluggish for months to come until a new equilibrium is reached. Still, banks will fall into line by the deadline next year. And, they can still offer non-traditional loans, which still make sense for some buyers, but will do so at their own risk.
Community Development Corporation of Utah helps to ensure success of all homebuyers. CDCU remains one of the premier, federally-approved housing counseling agencies in the nation. Homebuyers of all walks-of-life would do well to attend CDCU’s homebuyer education class and meet with a housing counselor to ensure they negotiate the pitfalls of mortgage financing and homeownership.
As I reflect on the year that has been, we have accomplished many great things. In fact, 2012 will be our most productive in our 22 year history. To illustrate, consider the following:
- We saved 108 families from foreclosures, and are currently working with hundreds more. In fact, we took on another 354 cases throughout the state this year.
- We provided pre-purchase counseling to more than 300 families, helping to ensure their success.
- We sold 44 homes, all of which are revitalization projects that we rehabilitated or built ourselves. In the last three years, we’ve done 144 homes, for a total market value of $14,233,680! That is a huge impact in our hardest hit neighborhoods, both in stabilization and economic development.
- We remediated 13 homes contaminated with methamphetamine.
One of our partners, a very large national bank, recently commented that we have a much greater impact than our small size (12 people) would suggest. He is right. Our stories may not be in the papers or on television much, but thanks to our dedicated team and great partners, we are making a difference in lives and in neighborhoods every day. Here’s to an even stronger 2013!
Wells Fargo donated $15,000 to CDCU to support its Neighborhood Homeownership and Stabilization Program through which CDCU purchases and rehabilitates dilapidated, vacant houses, turning them from neighborhood blights into models for safe, healthy, and energy efficient housing. Also, on the 3rd of October, several Wells Fargo employees volunteered their time to help provide the finishing touches to a CDCU home located at 2711 South 8650 West in Magna. They were very efficient and did a great job staining the fence around the yard, laying sod, and planting a variety of plants and trees. Thanks again Wells Fargo!
CDCU is working with some important partners like the University of Utah School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics, Intermountain Healthcare, ASSIST Inc., Salt Lake County, Habitat for Humanity, and others to implement the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative in Utah. For decades, CDCU has improved the health and safety of affordable housing for low-income families. But, with this expanded emphasis that can include a collaborative effort of key community resources like asthma specialists, health care providers, and others, we plan to leverage our expertise in housing rehabilitation and housing counseling to help even more people and families in a more holistic fashion that addressees many of the things in their homes that make them sick. It’s an exciting initiative, and if you want to learn more, email or give us a call.
Thirsty to thrifty gardening….Dreams of lush lawns and gardens in the second driest state are hard to maintain. Hot and dry isn’t new for those of us who have lived here for a few years but this year the weather is shouting at us to adjust our expectations. A quick search of the internet shows that from June 1- July 27 thirty-seven days have been at or above 90º and ten of those days were 100º or more!
We don’t have to choose between dry and brown or higher and higher water bills though. Here are some ideas and resources:
The Idea Book found on the CDCU website provides the top ten ideas for reducing water use in your home and garden, including low water use plants for the garden.
The Utah Rivers Council Rip Your Strip (http://www.utahrivers.org/rip-your-strip/ program encourages homeowners to convert traditional parking strips into an “exciting and beautiful example of what low water-use landscaping can be.”
Landscape Irrigation Rebates: Anyone residing within the Central Utah Water Conservancy District (http://www.cuwcd.com/rebates/index.htm) may participate in the District’s Landscape Irrigation Product Rebate and Grant Programs. Eligible counties are: Salt Lake, Utah, Wasatch, Duchesne, Uintah, Sanpete, Piute, and portions of Summit, Juab, and Garfield.
Looking for a good example - My favorite ways to find ideas for my yard and garden is to walk my neighborhood at different times of the year, visiting demonstration gardens, and talking to plant venders at the farmers market.
Here are a few demonstration gardens to check out; Central Utah Gardens (Orem), Conservation Garden Park (West Jordan), Red Butte Garden (Salt Lake City), Sego Lily Gardens (Sandy), Utah House (Kaysville).
The Master Gardner Program (http://utahmastergardeners.usu.edu/home/homeMain.htm) is also a terrific resource.
We often take for granted our air conditioning system until it is too late. Whether you have central air or an evaporative (swamp) cooler, regular maintenance is essential for the unit to operate as efficiently and care-free as possible. Check out these maintenance tips to help keep your energy costs low and your level of comfort high.
Central Air Conditioning Operating and Maintenance Tips: http://www.energysavers.gov/your_home/space_heating_cooling/index.cfm/mytopic=12390
Evaporative Cooler Operating and Maintenance Tips: http://www.energysavers.gov/your_home/space_heating_cooling/index.cfm/mytopic=12360
Other Cooling Technologies: http://www.energysavers.gov/your_home/space_heating_cooling/index.cfm/mytopic=12450
Thanks to your votes, Community Development Corporation of Utah took second place in the Utah voting region for the www.starbucks.com/votegivegrow program. The reward is a grant for $15,000 that will be used to help support CDCU's programs aimed at preserving homeownership and strengthening communities. Your support is greatly appreciated.
The following is a brief history of the Brown family taken from the Roberta Street Community Project website.
"David, Lynda, Max, Suli, Soka, Sefa, and Fetuu Brown live in half their house. The boys sleep in the living room, the girls and parents in 2 tiny bedrooms. The basement is infested with mold. A gap in the roof lets in water and raccoons. Suli has asthma, Max has spastic cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair. There is no ramp, Max has no independence—he can’t access most rooms, including the bathroom. David has had a steady job for many years, and is still employed. Given Suli’s asthma and Max’s unending medical needs, there is no money for house repairs.
The Roberta St. Community has helped the Browns get a no-interest loan from the Community Development Corporation of Utah (CDCU) for a new furnace and ventilation; other organizations have donated a roof, wheelchair ramp, and windows. Neighbors are donating labor. We still need $30,050 for attic insulation, electrical, plumbing, widening doors, kitchen upgrade, and painting."
If you would like to help with a donation you can do so here. Please specify in the message box that your donation is for the Roberta Street Community Project.
Friends of Community Development Corporation of Utah:
We are excited to announce that Community Development Corporation of Utah (CDCU) has been chosen to participate in the Starbucks Community Card Vote.Give.Grow program in recognition of our ongoing work to preserve homeownership and strengthen communities.
This is a great opportunity for CDCU to receive up to $25,000 to bolster our community programs. We need your votes to win! Please follow these steps to get started.
- If you don’t already have one, purchase a Starbucks gift card online or in store. Minimum card purchase is $5 but you do not have to maintain a balance to vote.
- Use the card to buy yourself a drink or treat.
- Go to www.starbucks.com/votegivegrow and register you card.
- Use your registered card to opt-in to the Community Card Program.
- Vote for Community Development Corporation of Utah.
- Put the sticker from your Community Card on your Starbucks Card as a reminder to vote.
- Come back every week in April to vote again.
While online, please like us on Facebook. When we reach 100 likes, we will be giving away a $100 Lowe’s gift card to one of our Facebook fans.
Thank you for you support as we strive to fulfill our mission to develop sustainable and affordable housing, revitalize neighborhoods and communities, and promote self-sufficiency through home ownership.