Homeowner center receives grants

Hawai‘i Home Ownership Center will receive $200,000 in flexible grants, a much-needed affordable housing booster from NeighborWorks America.

In 2006, NeighborWorks and Hawai‘i HomeOwnership Center will be responsible for an estimated $4 million reinvested in the community to create more economic development and affordable housing opportunities for Hawai‘i’s citizens.

This year, NeighborWorks America will provide more than $75 million in grants to its national network of 240 nonprofit organizations operating in more than 4,000 communities.

The grants will be used to increase homeownership, produce and manage affordable, high-quality rental properties, empower consumers through financial literacy and homeownership education and counseling, stem the tide of foreclosures that threaten neighborhoods and local economies, and revitalize and strengthen communities.

This is the first of three rounds of grants this year, including a special deployment of funds to provide relief for hurricane evacuees resettling in NeighborWorks communities across the nation, to rebuild hurricane-wracked areas of the Gulf Coast, and to launch a public education campaign regarding ways to rehabilitate flood-damaged homes to avoid foreclosure after missing mortgage payments due to loss of income and to steer clear of predatory lenders who prey on hurricane victims.

“Investments in affordable housing and community development represent an engine of economic and social wealth,” said CEO Ken Wade.

Sparked by 1978 legislation, NeighborWorks America created the NeighborWorks network of community development nonprofits charged with closing the homeownership gap among whites and non-whites; improving financial literacy; rehabilitating and repairing rundown properties; and, using community development strategies to improve safety and build wealth.

As a result, the NeighborWorks network of more than 240 organizations have been able to:

• invest $9 billion in America’s communities in the last five years;

• stem a rising tide of foreclosures in numerous communities;

• help minority families achieve homeownership at four times the rate of conventional lenders;

• educate and counsel homeowners, reducing mortgage default rates by 30 percent;

• rehabilitate 25,000 housing and rental properties in the last year using state-of-the-art methods, including green and healthy building techniques;

• create the nation’s largest force of certified homeownership education counselors, educating more than 500,000 homebuyers;

• forge private-sector partnerships that revitalize communities and provide affordable rental housing and development loans; and

• mobilize hundreds of thousands of volunteers to revitalize neighborhoods.

Visit www.hihomeownership.org for more information.

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