Helping Homeowners Stay Put

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October 21, 2010; Source: Boston Globe | A Boston-based nonprofit has 5.5 million more reasons to feel optimistic about its ability to help people caught up in the foreclosure mess. Earlier this week, Boston Community Capital, which helps struggling homeowners buy back their homes at reduced cost, received a $5 million loan and a $500,000 grant from the Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

The money will help Boston Community Capital expand its program, which so far the Boston Globe says has helped about 90 families in Revere and Boston remain in their homes about to be taken over by banks. CEO Elyse Cherry says no other nonprofit lender works the way it does. After purchasing the homes, the original owners receive mortgages from Boston Capital that cut their previous payments in half because of the reduced repurchase prices and lower interest rates.

Many of the program’s beneficiaries include those temporarily out of work or individuals who weren’t able to make mortgage payments because of illness. Says Cherry, “We run into people who have had all kinds of issues: they’ve lost a job, they’ve been ill. This is a wonderful way to expand geographically.’’

Based on ongoing foreclosure rates, Boston Capital will be plenty busy. The Globe reports that so far this year, 10,000 homes have been foreclosed, or more than for all of 2009.—Bruce Trachtenberg