East Boston’s Neighborhood of Affordable Housing (NOAH) will be one of 18 community based organization across the state sharing in a total of $4 million in HomeCorps grants to help address the foreclosure crisis.
The grant funding for NOAH will go to assist homeowners and renters impacted by the foreclosure crisis, revitalize distressed and blighted neighborhoods, and guard against future financial harm. The funding is the result of a nationwide settlement involving the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers and their connection with unlawful foreclosures and loan servicing.
The Crisis Response Innovation Grants, a component of Attorney General Martha Coakley’s HomeCorps program, support a wide variety of foreclosure prevention and mitigation services here in Eastie and across the state.
The funding for NOAH is the latest in a series of HomeCorps Partnership Grants which fund loan modification assistance, free direct legal representation to distressed borrowers and post foreclosure stabilization assistance to families, as well as efforts to help communities recover from the foreclosure crisis by addressing abandoned housing and mitigating neighborhood blight.
“Our economy will never fully recover until we address the impact of the foreclosure crisis,” said Coakley. “These grants are designed to help strengthen struggling communities, provide direct assistance to distressed borrowers, and avoid unnecessary foreclosures. The organizations receiving these funds are doing work that is a critical part of those efforts.”
Funding for the these grants comes from the $44.5 million in funds obtained for Massachusetts as part of the national settlement with Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and GMAC/Ally. According to the settlement signed in April by a federal judge, the banks are also ordered to provide an estimated $14.6 million in cash payments to Bay State borrowers and $257 million worth of mortgage relief across the state.
In December 2011 Coakley used NOAH as her backdrop to announce her unprecedented lawsuits against the five national banks in connection with their roles in allegedly pursuing illegal foreclosures on properties in Massachusetts as well as deceptive loan servicing.
NOAH was picked by the Attorney General for its role over the past three years to help Eastie families stay in their homes through loan modification efforts that have been stifled by some banks.
Using Eastie as an example for how big banks were squeezing the low and middle class, Coakley pointed out that only 85 families have been helped with loan modifications to avoid foreclosure but there were a staggering 562 more families that have been waiting years for help from banks that have allegedly put homeowners in risky loans or made the process of loan modification to difficult.
“I’m concerned about places like East Boston because many homes that have been foreclosed could have been saved,” said Coakley at time. “I’m tired of excuses and banks are telling us that in a lot of situation they did all they can to help homeowners avoid foreclosure.”
Coakley said her office has heard hundreds of horror stories from Eastie residents and residents across the state of banks loosing loan modification paperwork or making the process too difficult and confusing.
“People are giving up because they get frustrated by the process,” said Coakley. “So we want to get results for the people of East Boston and the state because these banks have misrepresented what they are doing to help stem foreclosures here and we want answers.”