In November 2018, PRG completed the 100th home since 2010! Why do we do this work? Because this house had been vacant and boarded since 2012. Because it will be home for a family of ten coming out our partnership with the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority. Because there are 13,000+ households on the waiting list for public housing in Minneapolis. Because homeownership is key to building intergenerational assets. Because MN has the 2nd worst in the nation racial homeownership gap. Because all but three of those 100 construction contracts have gone to contractors of color or women operated companies.

Watch the progress video by clicking on the photo below to see the evolution of the beautiful home with help from our friends at D & J Steele Construction.

You’ve become a homeowner….now what?

PRG wants to help you be a successful homeowner. That’s why we hosted our first-ever Home Maintenance workshop this summer.

Attended by over 20 households, this workshop featured information and tips from Project Manager Kevin Gulden about home maintenance and upkeep.  Held at one of our recently-completed homes in north Minneapolis, the 90-minute workshop was specially designed for first-time homebuyers. The presentation included information on winterizing, knowing where to find shut-off valves, changing furnace filters, and exterior maintenance.

Wish you could have been on the tour? Check oubanistert PRG’s monthly Home Tips blog: HomeTips

 

On Thursday, March 16, 2017, President Trump released his proposed budget for the 2018 fiscal year. In addition to cuts that broadly impact social services, the arts, environment, agriculture, and education, the budget also includes a $6.2 billion cut to HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development).

This proposed budget will have deep and lasting impacts on neighborhoods and families throughout the country. It would eliminate a variety of vital HUD programs including two that directly affect PRG’s work. The HOME Investment Partnerships Program supports our affordable housing development, and Section 4 Capacity Building for Community Development and Affordable Housing provides much-needed operating support for our housing programs.

As is often the case, these program cuts will disproportionately impact communities of color and low-income communities. PRG, a recipient of HUD funding, has always worked to improve neighborhoods and communities on the local level.

Last year, PRG:

  • Provided free foreclosure prevention counseling to 50 families, helping 73% of these avoid foreclosure
  • Prepared 360 households for first-time homeownership with homebuyer education workshops
  • Awarded 88% of our construction contracts to minority-owned businesses, impacting the local economy
  • Sold 90% of PRG-developed homes to households of color

To continue doing this important work, we need your help to spread the word about the importance of protecting critical resources for affordable housing.

What you can do:

  • Contact your elected representatives. Call or send postcards. Find contact information for:
  • Donate to PRG. From $5 to $500, your tax-deductible gift in any amount helps.
  • Share your PRG story. Tell us how PRG has impacted you, your neighborhood, or your community.
    • What did you learn at HomeStretch?
    • Do you live in a PRG-developed home? Can you share a picture of your house?
    • Has Mindy or Thandisizwe or Erin helped you on your journey?
  • Let your voice be heard.

As the state’s second largest recipient of funds to provide pre-purchase counseling and homebuyer education, PRG helps to turn prospective buyers into home owners and to address the racial home ownership gap. A recent survey of PRG clients tells us more about the impact of our work in these services.

According to the survey, an estimated 300 households of color purchased homes after using PRG’s pre-purchase counseling and homebuyer education services over the past three years. This is important because for most middle-income Americans, their home is their primary asset, and access to home ownership allows households to build wealth.

PRG houseIn Minnesota, where the racial home ownership gap is one of the worst in the nation (the overall home ownership rate is 70%, but for households of color, the rate is 41%), housing counseling and education helps buyers overcome barriers (such as first generation and first time home buyers, buyers in neighborhoods disproportionately affected by the foreclosure crisis) that often represent systemic racial inequities. When combined with the fact that 73% of PRG-developed homes are purchased by households of color, we are making a real dent in the home ownership gap.

If you’ve purchased a home, you know how bumpy the road to home ownership can be, and PRG’s housing-related services help people dreaming of home ownership navigate the complexities of home buying.

Share the Joy of Home Ownership!

Register and find alternate dates and locations here. 

If you are receiving this e-mail you are likely either considering home ownership or are a homeowner already. If the former, you might want to check out one of our upcoming HomeStretch homebuyer workshops. If the latter, please consider sharing this information with a friend.

PRG’s HomeStretch homebuyer workshops walk you through the home buying process. They include information on:

  • Pros and cons of home ownership
  • Working with lenders
  • Credit and budgeting
  • Special loan programs
  • Working with realtors
  • Home inspections
  • What to expect at a closing
  • Being a successful homeowner

Attending an eight-hour homebuyer workshop is recommended for anyone who is pre-approved for a mortgage loan and is required by most lenders offering special loan programs. Not sure if you qualify for a mortgage loan? You may want to start by scheduling and individual appointment with a PRG home ownership advisor.

Our workshops meet HUD guidelines and are approved by NSP and the Wells Fargo Neighborhood LIFT program.

Workshops are open to any person or family thinking about buying a home. There is no minimum or maximum income limit. The fee of $35 per household includes a detailed workbook you can keep.

One big benefit of PRG’s free, HUD-approved foreclosure counseling: We help homeowners know and go after the relief they’re eligible for.

This recent article points to a study on federal foreclosure relief program known as HAMP (Home Affordable Mortgage Program). The researchers looked at a huge set of data about mortgage modifications and foreclosures under this program:

What they found was that certain banks were far better at modifying loans than others. The reasons for the difference, they established, were pretty predictable: The banks that were better at helping homeowners avoid foreclosure had staff who were both more numerous and better trained.

The upshot of this for homeowners facing foreclosure is this: Not all banks are going to help you find and get all the help that’s available to you. PRG’s free, HUD-approved foreclosure counseling program can.

Our counselors have broad knowledge about the available options. They are experts at advocating for homeowners and navigating bank bureaucracy and communication. This study found that 800,000 homeowners eligible for loan modifications were unnecessarily pushed toward foreclosure instead. We’re here to make sure you don’t become one of them.

Home TipsLast week PRG rolled out Home Tips, a monthly email for homebuyers and new homeowners, with information and resources curated by PRG’s experienced staff. Take a look at the January tip, and sign up here to get the scoop in future months

In the past year, 233 families have come to PRG for foreclosure counseling. Our counselors worked with some for an hour, some for weeks, and some for months. In the vast majority of cases, we were able to help clients find sustainable ways to avoid foreclosure and stay in their homes. Foreclosure counselor Jennifer Lancour recently reflected on one story, and how the counselor and clients worked together for a happy outcome.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Some days my job is very frustrating. However, there are moments that remind me of why what I do is very important. Like yesterday when I saw one of my clients at the grocery store and she was so excited to tell me her bank had called her that morning and the modification to their mortgage was approved.

Now, this happens often. However, for this particular family I was especially pleased to see a good ending.

This is a couple who had worked hard all their lives, made responsible financial decisions, and had been doing everything they could to just hold on to their home when they called our office and asked for help.

I could see that it was especially difficult for the husband: all his life he had been a provider for his wife. Two years prior, the company he worked for went out of business, causing a dramatic decrease in their family income. Although he had worked all his life, with employment options being so limited, he could only find a job that payed significantly less than he’d made before, and didn’t offer good health insurance. However, it was a job and there were bills that needed to be paid, so he took it.

Facing such a dramatic decrease in pay, increased medical expenses, and a mortgage payment that now took about 60% of their monthly income, they came to a financial breaking point and could no longer pay the mortgage. They couldn’t sell the home because of the decline in value, and, after several months of missing payments, a neighbor of theirs whom I had worked with suggested they call me, and they did.

When they called me they were five months behind, had tried to work with their mortgage company and been denied a work out, and had an upcoming sheriff’s sale. After hearing their story, I gave them specific instructions of documents I needed to submit a hardship package, and went over the follow-up steps they needed to take on a monthly and weekly basis.

To make what could be an even longer story short, by taking responsibility for their situation, asking for help, being willing to do the work (getting all documents needed), and being dedicated to following the follow-up instructions I gave them, they were able to get a workout that was affordable with their new financial realities.

These clients have thanked me so many times … All I did was help them understand the process, give them information, put together a hardship package, and fax it to the bank for them. However the reality is that it was their hard work, determination, and participation in the process that made this a happy ending.

PRG has been counseling new homebuyers for over 15 years. In the past two years, we’ve tripled our counseling staff and added high-quality, free foreclosure counseling to the mix. Now (without changing a thing about what we do, beyond filling out a big, thick stack of paperwork) we’re officially a HUD-approved housing counseling agency.

That means if you’re applying for a HUD program that requires a homebuyer workshop or pre-purchase or foreclosure counseling, PRG is the place to be.

If you’re worried about losing your home to foreclosure, you may feel alone, afraid, or ashamed. You may have a lot of questions about what’s going to happen next, and what you can do. If you’ve heard of foreclosure counseling, you may wonder what a foreclosure counselor could possibly do to help.

PRG, along with TPT and the Home Ownership Center of Minnesota, has produced a half-hour video that responds to these concerns and introduces you to homeowners who have worked with foreclosure counselors to resolve their mortgage concerns.

The show can be viewed online via TPT. Or, if you’re interested in a DVD copy for yourself or someone else, contact PRG and we’ll send one your way.

  • I thought about giving up and just letting them take my house. [PRG] changed my direction. It gave me hope.

    Olivia, Advising Client
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