News

FEDERAL HOME LOAN BANK APPLICATION APPROVED

Neighborhood Housing Services of Kansas City Inc. (NHS) is pleased to announce that their application to the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines for funding under the Affordable Home Program (AHP) has been approved. NHS will receive $283,000 to provide additional financing for acquisition/rehab projects in Kansas City.
“We are very pleased with the announcement” stated Mark Stalsworth, President/CEO of NHS. “This was our first application under AHP, and we understand that it is difficult to be approved the first time you apply.”
The funds awarded will be used to make homes more sustainable and affordable for low income households. These funds will fill the gap between what it costs to acquire and rehabilitate a home, and what it can be sold for after rehabilitation is complete.
“We structured our request to focus on foreclosed and abandoned properties,” said Angie Splittgerber, NHS Board Chair. “We will use these funds to help rehab donated properties and properties that we receive through the Kansas City, Missouri, receivership process, which allows non profits to help remove blight and obtain and repair nuisance properties.”
Through their HUD approved Homeownership Education classes, NHS will identify possible buyers of these homes and provide credit counseling if needed. NHS will also provide home mortgages to qualified buyers. “Being a NeighborWorks® HomeOwnership Center really makes this a good experience for the buyer,” said Marjorie Major, HomeOwnership Center Manager. “Buyers can attend class, receive counseling, apply for a mortgage, and buy a house from a single entity. This is a real one-stop-shop.” Neighborhood Housing Services is a Licensed Mortgage Broker, and all loan applications are accepted by Licensed Mortgage Loan Officers.
To register for a Homeownership Education class where you can learn more about NHS programs, please visit the NHS website, www.nhsofkcmo.org. For additional information about applying for a Neighborhood Housing Services Home Loan, please call Marquetta Broome at 816-822-7703, Extension 212.
Neighborhood Housing Services is a NeighborWorks® Charter Member, and is located at 5835 Troost, Kansas City, Missouri 64110. Its mission is to revitalize and maintain urban neighborhoods as vibrant areas that attract people who value diversity, historic architecture, security and community.
If you would like to assist with supporting the programs and services offered by Neighborhood Housing Services, donations may be sent to the NHS offices. Persons interested in volunteering may contact Rob Rawlings at 816-822-7703, Ext 211.
Please visit our website at www.nhsofkcmo.org for more information about Neighborhood Housing

HISTORIC MANHEIM PARK GARDEN

For Immediate Release

November 18, 2011

Historic Manheim Park Meets the “Challenge”

On a beautiful autumn day, on a former vacant lot, the Missouri Department of Agriculture honored the Historic Manheim Park Community Garden as the 9,000th Missouri Community Garden to accept its’ 10,000 Garden Challenge”. This program, sponsored by the Missouri Department of Agriculture, encourages communities across the State to organize and start gardening.

“It’s a really wonderful garden, and an excellent example of the emphasis the Kansas City area has put into community gardening,” said Dr. Jon Hagler, Director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture. “The last two gift certificate winners in the 10,000 Garden Challenge have been part of community gardens and it has been outstanding to see everyone working alongside their neighbors and to hear our gardeners’ stories – especially those in the urban areas who have shown such creativity and initiative in bringing their communities together.”

The Challenge guidelines stipulate that every time 1,000 gardens register on the Department of Agriculture website, a drawing is held to determine the winner of a $500 gift certificate from Tractor Supply.

“The food is wonderful, but it is not just about the food,” said Manheim Park resident Kate Kilgore, who submitted the winning registration. “The real enjoyment comes from digging in the dirt and making friends with the other gardeners.”

“We really appreciate the $500 prize,” stated Augusta Wilbon of Neighborhood Housing Services. “NHS has provided the land for the garden for over 15 years, and helps pay some of the expenses.”

“I am very happy that the Manheim Park Community Garden was selected for this recognition,” said Mark Stalsworth, President/CEO of Neighborhood Housing Services. “The residents have worked hard to make this a real neighborhood asset, and they are to be commended for their efforts.”

Gardeners interested in registering their gardens for the 10,000 Garden Challenge can do so by visiting www.AgriMissouri.com.

Neighborhood Housing Services is located at 5835 Troost, Kansas City, Missouri 64110. Its mission is to revitalize and maintain urban neighborhoods as vibrant areas that attract people who value diversity, historic architecture, security and community.

For more information about Neighborhood Housing Services, programs or services, please call 816-822-7703 or visit the website at www.nhsofkcmo.org.

NHSKC OFFERS ENERGY-SAVING TIPS FOR CONSUMERS

For Immediate Release
November 8, 2011

Neighborhood Housing Services of Kansas City, Inc Offers Home and Family Energy-Saving Tips for Consumers This Winter

Kansas City, MO – As the days grow colder and consumers gear up for another winter, many are looking for ways to beat the season’s high monthly energy costs. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average U.S. household spends about $1,900 per year on home utility bills. With so much of a consumer’s monthly income spent on energy this winter, NHSKC urges consumers to reduce their utility costs by weatherizing their homes this winter.

“There are several measures that homeowners and renters can take to control, or lower, their monthly utility bills. Adding insulation, purchasing new appliances, and even making small changes in your family’s energy consumption can add up to big monthly savings this winter, and every season,” said Mark Stalsworth, President & CEO, Neighborhood Housing Services of Kansas City, Inc (NHSKC) a member of the NeighborWorks network.

As part of Neighborhood Housing Services’ commitment to greening, NHSKC offers families the following tips to reduce their energy costs and increase their home’s energy efficiency.

Energy Saving Tips for Your Home

  • Replace the filters once a month to maintain an adequate and clean air flow and in turn reduce energy costs.
  • Keep registers and vents free of dust, dirt and other blockages. If you have rooms that are not used often, keep their registers and doors closed; doing so will save your system from heating or cooling unused rooms.
  • Add or replace insulation. Appropriate insulation can save you up to 30 percent on your heating bill, according to the Alliance to Save Energy. Insulation of your attic, floors, exterior walls, crawl spaces, and around outlets on exterior walls can help prevent energy loss. Be sure to choose high-quality, non-toxic materials, and replace matted or torn insulation to maximize its effectiveness.
  • Replace or add caulking or weather stripping around windows and doors. Your home may have small openings around doors and windows that allow for heated air loss. Caulking and weather stripping can reduce energy waste and protect your home from moisture damage.
  • Install ceiling fans. A ceiling fan will help more evenly distribute warm and cool air generated by your heat pump, furnace, or A/C unit throughout the year.
  • Attic fans or vents can keep hot or cold air from being trapped in your attic.
  • If you need to buy new appliances, buy the most energy efficient models you can afford. Look for household appliances that have earned the Energy Star® – these products have met the guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy. According to the Alliance to Save Energy, households that replace existing equipment Energy Star® qualified products can cut annual energy bills by as much as 30 percent, or more than $450 per year.
  • Install low-flow water fixtures such as those with the EPA’s Watersense label or by installing faucet aerators. These fixtures are designed to use less water without compromising performance, and can help save on the energy costs involved in water heating.
  • Install storm windows and storm doors with screens. Storm doors and windows can reduce wasted energy by serving as an added barrier to your outdoor environment.
  • Try not to keep the thermostat too high in winter. Keep the thermostat between 68-72 degrees in the cooler winter months. For each degree you lower your thermostat, you can save up to five percent on the heating portion of your energy bill.

Energy Saving Tips for Your Family

  • Turn out lights not in use to save energy and money.
  • Let Mother Nature light your home. Sunlight is often brighter than bulbs, and it’s free. Open window treatments during the day to allow light in; close them at night to keep heat in your home.
  • Dress appropriately no matter the season, so you can keep your thermostat at the lowest comfortable setting in the winter.
  • Shut off the water while you brush your teeth, wash dishes by hand, or do other household chores. Turning off the water while you brush your teeth alone can save as much as four gallons a minute, according to Water – Use It Wisely.
  • Run your washer or dishwasher only when they are full. According to Water – Use It Wisely, doing so could save as much as 1,000 gallons of water a month per household.
  • Plan your family meals each week so that you make one trip to the grocery store per week. This will save gas money in the long run.
  • Try cooking with the lids on your pots to save time and conserve energy used when cooking. This is especially effective when trying to boil water.
  • Use a microwave or toaster oven to heat smaller portions, rather than a conventional oven.
  • Close the refrigerator door completely to conserve energy. The refrigerator is one of the most used appliances in a household because it runs 24 hours a day.
  • Do not leave doors and windows open when the heat or air conditioning are running.
  • Lower the temperature on your water heater to 120 degrees.

NeighborWorks America and the NeighborWorks network of local nonprofit organizations are committed to helping communities across the nation become healthy, sustainable places for people to live and work.

SERVICERS MUST COMPENSATE IMPROPER FORECLOSURE CLAIMS

For Immediate Release
November 1, 2011

Servicers Must Review, Compensate Improper Foreclosure Claims

Kansas City MO – Homeowners who believe they were financially harmed by improper foreclosure procedures now have a new avenue for relief. Three major federal regulators, The Federal Reserve Board and the Offices of Thrift Supervision and Comptroller of the Currency announced this morning that servicers under their supervision will be required to provide compensation to borrowers if their foreclosure processes caused financial injury.

As part of their compliance with enforcement actions issued by the three regulators April, a total of fourteen large servicers have been required to retain independent consultants approved by the regulators to conduct reviews when requested by eligible borrowers who were in foreclosure during 2009 or 2010, whether or not the foreclosure was completed. The consultants are charged with evaluating whether borrowers suffered financial injury through errors, misrepresentations, or other deficiencies in foreclosure practices and determining appropriate financial remediation for those customers.

The fourteen servicers (and their affiliates), all of whom have begun mailing letters to eligible borrowers that explain how to request a case review are:

  • America’s Servicing Co.
  • Aurora Loan Services
  • Bank of America
  • Beneficial
  • Chase
  • Citibank
  • CitiFinancial
  • CitiMortgage
  • Countrywide
  • EMC
  • EverBank/EverHome Mortgage Company
  • GMAC Mortgage
  • HFC
  • HSBC
  • IndyMac Mortgage Services
  • MetLife Bank
  • National City Mortgage
  • PNC Mortgage
  • Sovereign Bank
  • SunTrust Mortgage
  • U.S. Bank
  • Wachovia Mortgage
  • Washington Mutual (WaMu)
  • Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

Requests for review must be received by April 30, 2012. Regulators are encouraging borrowers to carefully consider the information about the review program to determine if they should participate. There are no costs associated with being included in the review nor do borrowers need an attorney. In addition to this outreach and claims program, the independent consultants will also review a variety of sample cases from each servicer. Where they identify issues, they will conduct additional secondary reviews to identify as many affected borrowers as possible. The Federal Reserve announcement said that certain categories of foreclosure actions would receive special attention including members of the military who were covered by the Service Members Civil Relief Act and borrowers who had previously filed complaints with the services for foreclosure actions pending during the 2009-10 period.

The Federal Reserve said further than it believes monetary sanctions against servicers are appropriate and plans to announce penalties in addition to any compensation provided to borrowers following the reviews.

Some examples of situations that might prompt a request for review were provided in the materials released to the press and public.

  • The mortgage balance amount at the time of the foreclosure action was more than the borrower actually owed.
  • The borrower was doing everything the modification agreement required or was properly pursuing a modification but the foreclosure sale still happened.
  • The foreclosure action occurred while the borrower was protected by bankruptcy.
  • Fees charged or mortgage payments were inaccurately calculated, processed, or applied.
  • The foreclosure action occurred on a mortgage that was obtained before active duty military service began and while on active duty, or within 9 months after the active duty ended.

“The independent foreclosure review is a significant component of the mortgage servicers’ compliance with our enforcement actions,” said acting Comptroller of the Currency John Walsh. “These requirements help ensure that the servicers provide appropriate compensation to borrowers who suffered financial harm as a result of improper practices identified in our enforcement actions.”

Walsh said the reviews will take several months to complete, considering the large pool of borrowers that could be part of the review.

The enforcement actions issued by the regulators in April also require the servicers to correct other deficiencies in residential mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure practices going forward, including specifying a single point of contact for certain borrowers who are having difficulty paying their mortgages, ensuring that foreclosures are not pursued when a borrower is performing on a loan modification, and establishing robust controls and oversight over their third-party vendors.

Information on filing a review request is available at www.IndependentForeclosureReview.com.

NEIGHBORWORKS® HOMEOWNERSHIP CENTER OPENS AT NHSKC

For Immediate Release

September 26, 2011

NeighborWorks® HomeOwnership Center Opens at NHSKC

Neighborhood Housing Services of Kansas City, Inc. opens the doors to its new NeighborWorks® HomeOwnership Center—a new Center that will help Kansas City families achieve homeownership the NeighborWorks® Way.
· Prepare for long-term homeownership through homebuyer education.
· Invest wisely with affordable and appropriate mortgage products, and
· Retain homes through preventative home maintenance, timely home repair and rehabilitation.

NHSKC NeighborWorks® HomeOwnership Center is a one-stop shop that provides Kansas City residents with access to a wide range of services that will help prospective homebuyers attain homeownership and help current homeowners maintain their investment.

NHSKC’s NeighborWorks® HomeOwnership Center is one of over 100 NeighborWorks® HomeOwnership Centers across the U.S. In 2010, NeighborWorks® helped 16,700 homebuyers achieve their dream of homeownership.

“Through the NeighborWorks® HomeOwnership Center, NHSKC will be able to help homebuyers navigate the complicated road to homeownership and stay in those homes for years to come,” said Mark Stalsworth, Executive Director. “Over the next five years, we plan to provide homebuyer education to 1,500 families and generate mortgages and rehabilitation financing. These are critical steps toward stabilizing our community, increasing home values, and helping low- and moderate- income families gain a solid foothold for their family’s financial security.”

The Center has a paid professional staff and volunteers from the lending, real estate, insurance and home improvement industries. Services and products provided through the Center include:
· Homeownership educations courses;
· Individualized pre-purchase advice (including repairing or establishing credit);
· Home inspections, as well as renovation specifications and cost estimates;
· Affordable first mortgage financing;
· Affordable second mortgage financing for down payments, closing costs or renovations;
· Access to real estate agents and services, insurance services and contractor referral and construction monitoring;
· Workshops on home maintenance and repair;
· Post-purchase counseling, leadership development, budget and credit management and delinquency prevention strategies.

For more information about NHSKC HomeOwnership Center, please contact

Marjorie Major at (816) 822-7703 extension 218 or mmajor [at] nhsofkcmo [dot] org.

NEIGHBORWORKS HELPS MORE FAMILIIES BECOME HOMEOWNERS

For Immediate Release
March 14, 2011

NeighborWorks Helps More Than 16,700 Families Become Homeowners

Washington, DC – NeighborWorks America, one of the largest community development corporations and the sponsor of one hundred full-service Home Ownership Centers around the U.S., today announced that more than 16,700 families became homeowners last year through the efforts of NeighborWorks organizations.

Despite a tough housing market in 2010, NeighborWorks organizations succeeded in helping homebuyers navigate the complicated process and obtain mortgages that they could afford for the long-term.

“Last year was a tough one for working families who dreamed of homeownership,” said Eileen Fitzgerald, acting CEO of NeighborWorks America. “But with the help of NeighborWorks organizations, many families who stayed on course were able to purchase their own homes. And they’ll be able to stay in those homes for years to come.”

NeighborWorks organizations help families attain homeownership in a variety of ways including homebuyer education and grants for down payment assistance. NeighborWorks organization homeownership efforts are supported through grants from NeighborWorks America, state and local government programs and the support of the private sector.

Media Contacts:

NeighborWorks® America, Douglas Robinson, (202) 220-2360
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Stacie B. Royster, 202-662-8317
U.S. Dept. of Treasury, Homeownership Preservation Office, Alvina McHale, (202) 622-2137
Freddie Mac, Brad German, (703) 903-2437
Fannie Mae, Janis Smith, (202) 752-2078
HOPE NOW Alliance, Brad Dwin, (202) 589-1938

About NeighborWorks® America

NeighborWorks® America creates opportunities for people to improve their lives and strengthen their communities by providing access to homeownership and to safe and affordable rental housing. Since 1991, we have assisted nearly 1.2 million low- to moderate-income families with their housing needs. In the last five years, NeighborWorks organizations have generated nearly $20 billion in reinvestment in these communities. NeighborWorks America is the nation’s leading trainer of community development and affordable housing professionals.

NHSKC KICKS-OFF NEIGHBORHOOD STABILIZATION PROGRAM

Neighborhood Housing Services of Kansas City Kicks-Off Neighborhood Stabilization Program

For Immediate Release
October 21, 2009

Neighborhood Housing Services of Kansas City Inc., (NHSKC) in partnership with the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City (EDC) has begun the first Neighborhood Stabilization Program project in Kansas City.

Working with $7.3 million provided through the City of Kansas City, Missouri, the NSP will help NHSKC acquire, rehabilitate, and resell foreclosed properties to pre-approved buyers. This stimulus-funded program is designed to rebuild and sustain neighborhoods in Kansas City.

“We are very pleased that these projects are beginning,” said Sharon Sanders Brooks, Chair of the Kansas City Council Housing Committee. “This is exactly how stimulus money is supposed to work; find a home, find a buyer, repair the home using local labor and get money moving in the economy. I am especially happy that the first person to take advantage of this program is a City of Kansas City Employee.”

“It is a great opportunity for a lot of people who are looking for a home,” stated Mark Stalsworth, President/CEO of Neighborhood Housing Services, the developer of the first property. “Pre-approved qualified buyers will be able to select the bank-owned property to be purchased and rehabilitated. The homes will receive energy upgrades to make them more efficient.”

Neighborhood Housing Services is a Socially Responsible lender serving all sections of the Kansas City, Missouri metro. For more information on being pre-approved for a loan, please contact Marquetta Broome at 816-822-7703 ext. 212, mbroomevisor@nhsofkcmo.org, or visit the Looking to Buy page on our website.

This program is available to households earning up to 120% of Area Median Income ($84,450 for a four-person household). Down payment and closing cost assistance in the form of a forgivable loan equal to 20% of the sales price of the property ($20,000 maximum subsidy). For a list of incomes by household size, please visit the Neighborhood Stabilization Program page.

To be eligible, homes must be located within designated target areas, which are generally located in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th City Council Districts. A list of all 78 eligible census tracts may be found on the Neighborhood Stabilization Program page.

All eligible households must complete an eight-hour homebuyer education class, which will be available through Neighborhood Housing Services. For information on homebuyer education, please call the NHSKC Homebuyer Education Registration line, at 816-822-7703 Ext. 225, or visit the Educational Classes page.