DETROIT, December 19, 2007 — Southwest Housing Solutions’ Housing Opportunity Center has been awarded a $500,000 grant from The Kresge Foundation to expand its counseling services that have been effective in helping many Detroit homeowners avoid foreclosure and remain in their homes.
The Kresge Foundation announced the one-year grant on December 12, 2007. The grant will enable Southwest Housing Solutions’ Housing Opportunity Center to hire additional foreclosure prevention counselors who work with homeowners and lenders to renegotiate mortgages into more manageable rates, fees and terms. Based upon its experience and research, Southwest Solutions estimates that the Kresge grant to the Housing Opportunity Center will allow at least 850 Detroit homeowners to stay in their homes and will preserve $75 million in residential real estate in the city.
Rip Rapson, President and CEO of The Kresge Foundation, said, “We are pleased to provide support to allow Southwest Solutions to expand its services to a larger geography within the city relating to the extremely urgent issue of mortgage foreclosure in Detroit.”
“Homeownership is the bedrock of strong and stable neighborhoods,” said John Van Camp, president of Southwest Solutions the holding company of Southwest Housing Solutions. “The Kresge grant is a significant investment in the health and revitalization of the city, which is being threatened by the growing foreclosure crisis.”
The Housing Opportunity Center (HOC) began in 2004 to promote homeownership and financial literacy in the community. HOC’s professional counselors provide financial fitness and credit counseling, homebuyer education, home repair loan applications and foreclosure prevention counseling. In the past three months, the HOC has counseled hundreds of homeowners who were facing foreclosure and has helped 60 families keep their homes.
“We are often the last hope for families in foreclosure,” said Nina Rodriguez, director of the Housing Opportunity Center. “These families are dealing with escalated interest rates from subprime loans or economic hardships that have made it difficult for them to make their mortgage payments. We work closely with homeowners and lenders to find solutions that are good for families, lenders and the community.”