A new source of relief has arrived for struggling Philadelphia homeowners. Boston Community Capital’s Stabilizing Urban Neighborhoods (SUN) Initiative announced Monday that it was coming to Philadelphia to help homeowners facing foreclosure to keep their homes.
“We buy troubled homes and sell them back to the homeowners with a mortgage they can afford,” said Elyse Cherry, CEO of Boston Community Capital, a nonprofit community development financial firm founded in 1985.
Partnering with nonprofits and private investors, the organization will purchase homes from lenders at distressed market values and then sell them back to their owner-occupants with a new 30-year mortgage loan featuring more favorable terms for the owners.
Under this initiative, homeowners would pay around 31 percent less per month than they paid under their previous mortgage, while their principal would be reduced by 34 percent on average.
"Communities of color, and low-income neighborhoods in cities like Philadelphia, continue to be hardest hit by foreclosures," Cherry said. "Boston Community Capital's SUN Initiative helps working class families stay in their homes and helps preserve the stability and vitality of their neighborhoods.”
"Foreclosures remain an issue in Pennsylvania, particularly among our most vulnerable populations," said Michelle W. Lewis, President, and CEO, Northwest Counseling Service, Inc, a nonprofit that provides real estate and housing counseling services to Philadelphia area residents. "We are pleased to have another option to keep struggling homeowners in their properties. We have already identified a number of cases where these tools can be useful."
Pennsylvania was one of eight states to experience rising foreclosures in the first half of 2017 compared to the first half of 2016, according to Boston Community Capital.
Philadelphia has a foreclosure rate that is currently almost double the national average, and auction foreclosures in the city have risen almost 13 percent over the past year, according to Boston Community Capital.
The SUN Initiative has been largely successful since its initiation in 2009, according to Boston Community Capital, which stated that “nearly all” of its borrowers are current on their payments, and more than 148 of the 900 families helped through the program have already paid their loans in full.