Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton has announced that the number of new affordable new and newly renovated homes will rise in northside and eastside Jacksonville neighborhoods thanks to the new Restore The Glory campaign launched by a coalition including the City of Jacksonville, Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Jacksonville, eight different non-profit community development groups, Chase Home Finance, and Freddie Mac, one of the nation’s largest investors in residential mortgages.
Restore The Glory will combine comprehensive borrower counseling and low-downpayment mortgage products with flexible credit requirements to stimulate affordable new home construction, rehabilitation of distressed homes, and home sales in six targeted northside and eastside Jacksonville neighborhoods. Restore The Glory is designed to help narrow the gap between the city’s 51 percent minority homeownership rate and its overall homeownership rate, which is 67 percent.
“Increasing affordable housing and promoting homeownership across the board are among my top priorities for this city,” said Peyton. “Homeownership stabilizes families and neighborhoods and enhances financial health. It is a cornerstone of the American dream, and I’m delighted to work with Freddie Mac, Chase Home Finance and our other allies in this worthy endeavor.”
“We are pleased to launch Restore The Glory in Jacksonville because Freddie Mac puts its mission to expand homeownership opportunities first. Restore The Glory is an exciting and far-reaching initiative that takes a bricks and mortar approach to revitalizing Jacksonville’s neighborhoods,” said Vaughn D. Irons, Freddie Mac’s national director of community development lending. “Freddie Mac is proud to join Mayor Peyton, Chase Home Finance, and an impressive network of dedicated community leaders to help more minority families become homeowners and enhance their willingness to make a long-term investment in these communities.”
Restore The Glory is a component of Freddie Mac’s Catch the Dream campaign to expand minority homeownership opportunities across the nation. Restore The Glory builds on Freddie Mac’s efforts to expand homeownership opportunities in the Jacksonville area, which has included the financing of more than $7.4 billion worth of mortgages for an estimated 63,108 residents over the past five years.
The centerpiece of Restore The Glory is a flexible package of mortgage products and development efforts designed to encourage the construction of affordable new homes while making the community’s stock of existing homes more affordable.
A coalition of eight non-profit organizations plan to use this financial toolkit to help existing residents rehabilitate their homes with affordable mortgages that let owners borrow up to 120 percent of the home value to finance repairs, renovation, or existing debt. At the same time, the coalition of non-profit organizations and the City of Jacksonville plan to work together to stimulate the development of affordable new single-family homes that are expected to start in the low $80,000’s.
Chase Home Finance will provide flexible mortgage products that offer low downpayment requirements and low cash-to-close options. In some cases, qualified borrowers can obtain a mortgage by putting down no more than $500 from their own funds. In addition the City of Jacksonville will provide qualified low- and moderate-income borrowers with federally funded grants to defray downpayment and closing costs or reduce the principal. Freddie Mac plans to purchase eligible mortgages originated through Restore The Glory to ensure a steady supply of mortgage credit for additional homebuyers.
“On behalf of Chase Home Finance, and as a long time resident of Jacksonville, I’m very proud that we’re part of this very important revitalization effort,” said Rod Brace, senior vice president. “We’re excited to join our partners - the City of Jacksonville, Freddie Mac, and such a broad coalition of community development groups - to help in the rebirth of historic neighborhoods like the Springfield District. This initiative is right in line with our mission, which is all about building lives and communities through access to homeownership.”
The Restore The Glory coalition of non-profit organizations include the Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Jacksonville, Edward Waters College Community Development Corporation (CDC), First Baptist Church of Oakland CDC, North Riverside CDC, Second Chance Help Center, Inc. CDC, Metro North CDC, Northwest Jacksonville CDC, Good Neighbor Myrtle Avenue Neighborhood Improvement Association (M.A.N.I.A.), and Bethel Affordable Homes Development Inc.
The Restore The Glory HomeCenter is located inside the Small Business Center at Gateway Mall. Residents are invited to visit the HomeCenter, view home designs and amenities, and receive detailed information about the program. Applicants must complete the approved homeownership-counseling program offered by the CCCS of Jacksonville in order to take advantage of Restore The Glory’s different opportunities. Pre and post-purchase counseling programs are critical to successfully expanding affordable homeownership, according to a 2001 Freddie Mac study that found such programs can effectively help borrowers make their mortgage payments on time and significantly reduce mortgage delinquencies.
Restore The Glory drew immediate praise from local officials and community leaders in Jacksonville.
“The Freddie Mac presence and participation in our neighborhood, Mid-West/Myrtle Avenue, is the impetus we have been praying for and seeking since our involvement and participation in housing development and restoration, both public and private,” said Celia A. Miller, executive director, of Good Neighborhood MANIA. “We are greatly appreciative to the City of Jacksonville, Chase Home Finance, and Freddie Mac for this opportunity to restore that qualify of housing and living in our community.”
“Since our greatest assets are people, our ongoing goal is to promote empowerment within the neighborhood we serve, significant community development can only take place when local community members are committed to investing themselves and their resources. Always remember: you can’t spell community without the word UNITY,” said Rev. Anthony F. Wyche, Sr., executive director of Second Chance Help Center, Inc.
“Restore The Glory is more than just a catchy slogan,” said Dawn Lockhart, president of Family Counseling Services, “it represents the collaborative effort of many participants focused on building stronger families by building stronger communities.”
“Restore The Glory will make a new and important difference to our communities,” said Diane Kerr, executive director of the North Riverside CDC. “Thanks to Mayor Peyton, Chase Home Finance, and Freddie Mac, North Riverside will continue to be a place where people choose to live and the character of the people makes the difference.”
“The Bethel Affordable Homes and Development Corporation(BAHD) is pleased to work with the City Of Jacksonville, Freddie Mac, Asset Property Disposition (APD), and the other participants and attempt to “Return to Glory” to these once lustrous communities,” said George G. Hartsfield , executive director of the Bethel Affordable Homes and Development Corporation.
“Restore The Glory builds on First Baptist Church of Oakland CDC’s mission to increase the supply and quality of affordable housing for Jacksonville’s lower - Eastside, while eliminating slum and blight,” said First Baptist Church of Oakland CDC executive director Rhonda Baker-Stansberry. “We do this by building neighborhoods from within — One House at a Time.”
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