Baltimore visit showcases homeownership programs.Four city teams visited Baltimore, Md., in early November as part of a two-day site visit to learn about homeownership counseling and incentive programs.
City officials and staff from Durham, N.C.; Grayson, Okla.; Itta Bena, Miss,; and Seattle, Wash. participated in the visit. These cities are part of NLC's nine-city Asset Building Project, supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation According to their website, "the Annie E. Casey Foundation has worked to build better futures for disadvantaged children and their families in the United States." The foundation is a regular contributor to public broadcasting, including National Public Radio. .
City teams met with Baltimore city housing staff, the chief of staff to Baltimore City Council The Baltimore City Council is the legislative branch that governs the City of Baltimore and its nearly 700,000 citizens. Baltimore has fourteen single-member City Council districts and representatives are elected for a four-year term. President Sheila Dixon Sheila A. Dixon is an American politician who is the 48th Mayor of Baltimore, Maryland. When former Mayor Martin O'Malley was sworn in as Governor on January 17, 2007, Dixon became mayor and will serve out the remaining year of O'Malley's term. and a network of community partners to learn how city leaders can work with local entities to help low- and moderate-income families secure and maintain homes.
For many of these families, homeownership may be their only opportunity to save money and provide for their children's futures. For many, this is the primary path for building wealth.
"Homeownership is important for Baltimore neighborhoods The following are a list of major neighborhoods in the city of Baltimore, Maryland, USA , organized by broad geographical location within the city: Northwest
The visit featured a wide range of City of Baltimore homeownership-related programs.
To complement the city's incentive programs, city officials recently passed an ordinance requiring residents to participate in homebuyer counseling before they are eligible for any of the city's financial incentive programs.
Baltimore partners with, and funds, a network of community agencies that provide counseling to area residents on topics such as understanding credit, choosing a real estate agent, selecting a mortgage lender and avoiding predatory lenders, preparing for settlement and preventing foreclosure foreclosure
Legal proceeding by which a borrower's rights to a mortgaged property may be extinguished if the borrower fails to live up to the obligations agreed to in the loan contract. .
After receiving counseling, potential homebuyers may be eligible for the city's numerous financial incentives, such as forgivable loans of up to $3,000 for low-income families or up to $3,000 toward homeownership for municipal employees.
Getting the Word Out
Asset Project participants saw firsthand how the city uses innovative measures to market their homeownership opportunities to the community.
The city partners with Live Baltimore, a local nonprofit organization Nonprofit Organization
An association that is given tax-free status. Donations to a non-profit organization are often tax deductible as well.
Examples of non-profit organizations are charities, hospitals and schools. , which supports a centrally located "Home Center" to provide comprehensive information about city neighborhoods, home buying incentive programs and links to real estate professionals and mortgage lenders. The organization's website includes a list of all city incentive programs, home-buying counseling services and even neighborhood crime statistics.
In addition, the city supports "Buying into Baltimore," a twice-yearly home-buying fair offered in conjunction with neighborhood trolley tours that showcase homes for sale.
Event participants are eligible to receive financial rewards for their participation. The first 50 people who complete the trolley tour and secure contracts to purchase a home within 90 days are eligible to receive up to $3,000 from the city toward their closing costs Closing Costs
The numerous expenses (over and above the price of the property) that buyers and sellers normally incur to complete a real estate transaction. Costs incurred include loan origination fee, discount points, appraisal fee, title search, title insurance, survey, taxes, .
In an effort to encourage people to live in the city, many employers partner with the City of Ballimore to provide an added homeownership incentive to their employees.
Through the "Live Near Your Work" program, employers must match, or can also increase, $1,000 in city funds for employees' settlement and closing costs. The 89 employers currently participating in the program view it as a way to attract employees and reduce turnover and worker absences due to transportation problems or bad weather.
What's Next for Asset Project Cities?
NLC NLC National League of Cities
NLC National Library of Canada
NLC National Library of China
NLC Northern Lights College (British Columbia, Canada)
NLC North Lake College (Irving, Texas) will help these cities take what they learned from Baltimore and craft action plans that will not only enhance their existing homeownership counseling and incentive programs, but also develop new ones.
Increasing opportunities for homeownership will ultimately give these cities' communities a boost by creating economically stable neighborhoods.
Details: For more information on the homeownership counseling and incentive programs in Baltimore, visit www.baltimorehousing.org.
Learn more about Live Baltimore at www.livebaltimore.com. For more information about NLC's Asset Building Project, contact Heidi Goldberg at (202) 626-3069 or email@example.com.