Q How is the subprime mortgage crisis affecting Arlington by vev19514


									                                                                                         Board of Directors

November is a month of preparation for family dinners, present exchange and winter       Debby Lewis
weather — the “to-do” list can become overwhelming. Last November, forty volun-          President
teers added a very special “to-do” to their list—preparing HCA’s Homelessness
Prevention Fund mailing. Our HPF troops stamped, stuffed, counted and sent over          Paul Parravano
16,500 letters asking for contributions from the Arlington community.                    Vice-President

                                                                                         Marc Dohan
The hard work of our volunteers collected over $46,000 in donations with more
coming in everyday. This impressive amount is a tribute to all those who partici-        Treasurer
pated in our HPF mailing, as well as the strong desire of our very special, close knit
                                                                                         Jan Blodgett
town to help our friends and neighbors in the community.
The gifts received from this appeal help those in danger of becoming homeless in         Deena Anderson
Arlington. HCA’s Homelessness Prevention Fund helps families and individuals                                                                                   the pace experienced in 2007, while
                                                                                         Gregory Bowe
with security deposits, moving expenses, and back rent. These grants go out to                                                                                 Arlington had only 2, about the same
those needing to get over a hump in order to be in a stable living situation for six     Jack Cooper                                                           rate as in 2007.
months or more.                                                                          Mary Doyle             Q: How is the subprime mortgage
                                                                                         Monique Magliozzi      crisis affecting Arlington?                    How did this all happen? Both statistical
Next year, we hope you too will add another item to your November “to-do” list.          Neal Mongold                                                          and anecdotal evidence points to an
Round out your turkey stuffing and stocking stuffers by helping HCA provide for          Marylou Vest           A: While foreclosures are rising in            unregulated mortgage industry, unscrup-
Arlington families and individuals and give a few hours to stuff our HPF envelopes!                             Arlington, they are certainly not at the       ulous lending officers, unprepared buyers
                                                                                         Laura Wiener
                                                                                                                unprecedented levels of other towns            and an over-heated housing market.                  Please join HCA friends
                                                                                         Executive Director     and cities in the Boston area. Recent          There is strong evidence that the current           and supporters at our
                                                                                         David J. Levy          statistics show that foreclosures in           crisis is less a result of rising interest
                                                                                                                Massachusetts are disproportionately           rates on adjustable-rate mortgages, and
                                                                                         Outreach Coordinator   taking place in lower-income, urban            more due to a drop in housing values
                                P R I N T E D O N R E C Y C L E D PA P E R               Joanna A. Ain          communities. The City of Boston, for           and poor lending practices. In a good
                                                                                                                instance, experienced over 700 foreclo-        housing market, such as in Arlington,
                                                                                                                sures in 2007. Arlington is being affected     owners falling behind on mortgage pay-              Sunday, April 13, 2008, 1-3            PM
                                                                                                                differently. According to the Warren           ments may be able to refinance their                Jason Russell House
                                                                                                                Group, in 2004 and 2005 there was not          loans in an effort to lower their payments.         (Corner of Massachusetts Ave. and Jason St.)
                                                                                                                a single foreclosure in Arlington. There       However, if the value of one’s home has
                                                                                                                were 19 foreclosures in Arlington in 2006.     decreased beyond the amount of their                Free Raffle Prizes! Exercise!
                                                                                                                In 2007, there were 15. Foreclosures in        original mortgage, a homeowner will                 Fun for the Whole Family!
                                                                                                                Arlington are increasing, but not to the       not have the option of refinancing.
                                                                                                                extent of other communities in the                                                                 For more information, contact Joanna
                                                                                                                Commonwealth.                                  If you are an Arlington homeowner                   at walk@housingcorparlington.org
                                                                                                                                                               who is falling behind on mortgage pay-              or 781-316-3606.
                                                                                                                Another difference between Arlington           ments or already in the process of being
                                                                                                                and other cities and towns is that to date,    foreclosed, I urge you to give HCA a
                                                                                                                housing values and sales in Arlington          call or come visit our offices so that we         affordable housing in MA?
                                                                                                                have remained steady. This allows home-        may connect you with counselors
                                                                                                                owners who find themselves in a poten-         trained to help you make informed                 A: The foreclosure crisis is having a last-
                                                                                                                tial foreclosure situation the option of       decisions. More and more lenders are              ing effect on both individuals and the
                                                                                                                either selling their home or refinancing.      agreeing to work with homeowners                  communities they live in. Homeowners
                                                                                                                Median sale prices for single-family           rather than follow through with costly            are losing their homes in record numbers,
                                                                                                                homes in Arlington have only decreased                                foreclosures, even         tenants in multi-family buildings under
                                                                                                                by 6% since their high in 2005, and sales                             if lenders are             foreclosure are being displaced, and
                                                                                                                have actually increased by 1%. By com-                                forced to take             houses in lower-income urban communi-
                                                                                                                parison, in Worcester where median sales                              smaller losses up          ties are being foreclosed, boarded-up and
                                                                                                                prices have dropped by 7% since 2005,                                 front. For both            abandoned. Block by block, the foreclosure
                                                                                                                sales are down by over 30%.                                           parties, this is cer-      crisis is deteriorating neighborhoods that
                                                                                                                                                                                      tainly a step in the       were once vibrant communities. This
                                                                                                                Regionally, foreclosure rates continue to                             right direction.           reshuffling of tenants and the potential
                                                                                                                climb, and in harder-hit urban communi-                               David J. Levy, Executive   surge of renters into the housing market
                                                                                                                ties the rate of foreclosures are staggering                          Director of HCA            is increasing demand for apartments,
                                                                                                                for the first part of 2008. The City of                                                          which will eventually lead to higher
                                                                                                                Boston had 302 foreclosures in the first       Q: What effect has the recent                     (Continued on page 3)
                                                                                                                two months of 2008, more than double           surge in foreclosures had on                                                 • Spring 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         (Continued from page 1)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         rents —straight-forward supply and
HCA is thrilled to welcome Deena                                                                                              and music for the             If you’re lucky, your home on a typical       she tucked her daughter into bed at night.     demand economics.
Anderson to our Board of Directors!                                                                                           Cambridge River               Friday afternoon feels like that of Annette   When a first-floor apartment opened up,
                                                                                                                              Festival and con-             Brubaker’s and her family. It is officially   her family was able to move up a flight.       The effect of the foreclosure crisis on
As a new tenant of one of HCA’s Mass                                                                                          tinues to host and            the weekend in this sunny residence,          Still small, but at least no more water was    affordable housing programs in the
Ave properties, Deena is personally com-                                                                                      produce stages for            and Annette and her kids are home from        coming up from the floors.                     Commonwealth is less obvious.
mitted to HCA’s purpose and mission:                                                                                          Arts First, a cele-           school. Warm and relaxed, but with a                                                         During the Romney administration,
HCA is important to me because they pro-                                                                                      bration of the arts           touch of excitement about upcoming            It was during this time that Annette met       there was a strong push to mix mar-
vide affordable housing for those in need,                                                                                    at Harvard. She               weekend activities, the family’s three        David Levy, HCA’s Executive Director,          ket-rate housing units with those
including a middle income person like                                                                                         also has overseen             bedroom apartment holds family and            at Town Day. David said Annette was a          priced affordably. Until recently, this
myself. I’m a beneficiary. I came from a very                                                                                 the May-Fair and              guests moving from activity to activity       perfect candidate for HCA’s Affordable         had been a sound practice that
difficult living situation in Arlington that had                                                                              Oktoberfest in                — afternoon snacks, reading, guitar play-     Rental Program and encouraged her to           allowed developers to use profits
many problems —one of them being high                                                                                         collaboration with            ing, computer games. With the murmur          fill out an application.                       generated from market units to offset
utility and heating costs. David Levy [HCA’s                                                                                  Scullers Jazz Club            of a fish tank and the chirps of two para-                                                   lower revenues from affordable units.
Executive Director] was kind, understanding,                                                                                  and the Harvard               keets in the background, Annette, an                                                         As the foreclosure crisis builds
compassionate, and willing to help — and           HCA's Board of Directors at our 2007 Annual Meeting   Square Business Association. Deena                 Arlington Public School teacher, sat                                                         momentum and the housing market
he did. I was finally able to exhale and move                                                            attended the High School of Music and              down to tell me how her family found                                                         as a whole takes a significant down-
into a cozy, comfortable, clean, renovated         for the Arts and Harvard’s Events, and                Art in New York City as well as Berklee            their way to their HCA apartment.                                                            turn, in some communities develop-
apartment that would not break me financially.     Exhibitions and Community Windows                     College of Music here in Boston.                                                                                                                ers are finding it more difficult to sell
I will always be indebted to HCA.                  coordinator at Holyoke Center and                                                                        Annette, her husband and their growing                                                       these market units. This puts entire
                                                   University Place.                                     With her experience, spirit and passion            family lived in Belmont for six years                                                        affordable housing projects at risk.
Deena is the assistant events producer                                                                   for affordable housing, HCA’s board and            until the two-family house where they
for the Learning from Performers                   Deena has coordinated and hosted stages               staff are already enjoying having Deena            were renting was put up for sale. The                                                        Local, not-for-profit community
Program at Harvard University's Office             featuring jazz, percussion and poetry                 on our team. Welcome, Deena!                       family was forced to move and needed                                                         development organizations, which
                                                                                                                                                            to find a deleaded apartment for their                                                       have been working for decades to
                                                                                                                                                            two year old daughter and five year old       Anxious about dealing with yet another         revitalize neighborhoods historically
                                                                                                                                                            son. After hearing the children’s ages,       unstable apartment, Annette explored           experiencing disinvestment, are taking
                                                                       S AV E T H E D AT E !                                                                many owners would insist that they            buying an “affordable” two bedroom             steps to address these circumstances.
                                                                                                                                                            had nothing available.                        condo on Mass Ave. However, with               Counseling for first-time homebuyers
                                                                 HCA’s 2008 Spring Clean Up                                                                                                               Annette’s teacher’s salary, condos were        is now focused on how to avoid sub-
HCA has been selected by the Art                                   Saturday, May 10, 2008                                                                   The family eventually found a place in        prohibitively expensive.                       prime loans and predatory lending
Connection to receive local art for our                                                                                                                     Arlington for $200 more a month than                                                         practices. If a homeowner is in fore-
new offices. The Art Connection, a non-                             Contact Joanna at 781-316-3606                                                          their Belmont apartment. After a year,        After a year and a half on HCA’s wait-         closure, counselors are prepared to
profit located in Boston, provides artwork               or jain@housingcorparlington.org for more information.                                             their landlord raised their rent by $300      ing list, Annette and her family finally       mediate with lenders to find mutually
to non-profits offering services to people                                                                                                                  a month. In the year since moving from        got their opportunity. With their HCA          agreeable refinancing plans. With
in the community. Since non-profits like                                                                                                                    Belmont, the family’s housing cost was        apartment, Annette’s kids are able to          encouragement and funding from the
HCA typically do not have budgets for                                                                                                                       about to increase by $500 a month.            stay in the Arlington Public School            Department of Housing & Community
items to beautify their space, the Art                                                                                                                                                                    system where they have been since              Development, community organiza-
Connection allows community groups                                                                                                                          Annette and her family eventually found       kindergarten. The family can remain            tions are also working to purchase
to greet their constituents with walls that                                                                                                                 their second apartment in Arlington.          part of the community — taking part in         at-risk properties to keep them occu-
match the mission of the organization                                                                                                                       After several good years, they were then      Arlington traditions such as Town Day          pied and maintained.
and all who are involved. HCA will be               HCA is delighted to announce that Bank                pursue our mission of preserving a                told that the house was going to be sold.     and Fourth of July fireworks. Annette
receiving artwork in a variety of media             of America Charitable Foundation has                  diverse, sustainable community that               Once again, the family had to search for      can drop off and pick up her kids from         Downturns in the housing market are
by local artists—all portraying HCA’s               given a $5,000 grant to help fund HCA’s               includes affordable and mixed-income              another place to live.                        school. Her short commute allows her           typically periods of opportunity for
welcoming and inclusive attitude.                   efforts to provide affordable housing in              housing opportunities.                                                                          to spend as much time as possible with         affordable housing development as
                                                    Arlington. Bank of America works to                                                                     At this point, Annette and her husband        her son and daughter.                          non-profit developers have more
Ever wonder what kind of artwork a                  help local organizations provide oppor-               We are very thankful for Bank of                  were going through a separation, and                                                         negotiating power and can raise capi-
retired teacher, a banker, a high school            tunities for members of the community.                America’s support of community-based              Annette needed to find something              Annette calls it a “godsend to have the        tal outside of typical markets — not
student and two HCA staff members                   This grant will provide funding for the               organizations such as HCA. We hope                quickly for her and her two children.         opportunity to rent from HCA.” For the         so when coupled with the current
would pick if they all put their heads              programming of HCA’s Affordable                       their involvement in Arlington will               They found their third apartment in           first time, her family lives in an apartment   foreclosure crisis. How the federal
together? HCA invites you to come by                Rental Program and its Homelessness                   encourage other businesses to support             Arlington, a tiny basement apartment on       where everyone can have their own              government and lenders make adjust-
and visit our new offices with our local,           Prevention Fund.                                      affordable housing and other local initiatives.   Mass Ave, thinking it would only be           bedroom. They are no longer vulnerable         ments in 2008 will be critical to
original artwork this summer!                                                                             “HCA is very appreciative to Bank of              temporary. The family ended up remain-        to owners deciding to sell their properties    containing this crisis, and ultimately
                                                    It is with the help of organizations like             America and the local banking commu-              ing in that building for three years.         or increase the rent. This family’s Friday     will determine whether longer-term
For more information about                          Bank of America and the contributions                 nity as a whole, which continues to                                                             afternoons can remain as they are, com-        affordability challenges will surface in
the Art Connection, go to                           we receive everyday from local com-                   demonstrate their commitment to                   There were constant water problems;           fortable and happy, for a long time to come.   Massachusetts and across the nation
www.theartconnection.org                            munity members that give the Housing                  affordable housing in Arlington,” says            Annette remembers her knees getting wet                                                      as a whole.
                                                    Corporation of Arlington the ability to               HCA Executive Director, David J. Levy.            due to the dampness in the carpet when
2 • Spring 2008                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Spring 2008 • 3

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