NHS hosts Spring Forum to discuss REO to Rental
CHICAGO, June 22, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On Wednesday, May 23rd Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago (NHS) held its Spring Forum, sponsored by BMO Harris Bank, "REO to Rental: Will it Pave the Road to Neighborhood Recovery?" at the Spertus Institute located at 610 South Michigan Avenue. Over 150 individuals representing financial institutions, non-profits, the private sector, and government entities attended to learn more on the topic.
NHS of Chicago is known as a thought leader in the industry with emerging and innovative programs. In 2003, in response to a staggering rise in foreclosures in NHS target communities, NHS developed the Home Ownership Preservation Initiative – HOPI - in partnership with the City of Chicago and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. This innovative public-private partnership has grown to include the nation's leading financial institutions, regulatory agencies, and other nonprofit and industry leaders. HOPI partners work to develop industry-wide innovations and to promote best practices in lending, servicing, and counseling in order to decrease the social and financial costs of foreclosure. The Spring Forum was a platform to explore the topic further and take a closer look at the Chicago market and how the REO to Rental model could affect communities.
Panelists at the Forum represented national, regional, and local views on the subject of REO to Rental and each shared their perspective on the topic - what the new field work could mean to local communities, and to the balancing of homeownership and rental strategies. The panelists included: Mike Travalini from Waypoint Homes, Betty Jo Swanson, resident community leader, 10th District Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer, and Ed Jacob from NHS of Chicago.
Mr. Travalini discussed his view on the topic from the perspective of a private investor. He shared Waypoint's experience in California where they are buying, rehabbing, and renting single family homes. He stressed the importance of an investor to be local for the model to be successful. Betty Jo Swanson discussed the topic from the perspective of a community resident. She emphasized the importance of investors discussing their intentions with the local residents and partnering with them to ensure the new tenants feel invested in their new community. Commissioner Gainer spoke of the need for the government to identify the tools they have available to make this type of investing a smooth process for communities. Commissioner Gainer suggested that one such tool could be the creation of a Cook County Land Bank to potentially streamline the process of property dispositions and provide countywide regulations to encourage responsible investment. Ed Jacob suggested that investors could partner with nonprofits to fill in the gaps in lending, credit rebuilding and property management. In addition to the panelists, attendees heard from the evening's moderator, Debra Schwartz from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation as she kept the conversation pertinent and lively by asking the panelists key questions on their view on the topic.
Established in 1975, NHS of Chicago is Chicago's largest neighborhood revitalization organization enabling Chicagoans to buy, fix, or keep their homes. NHS offers free counseling and homeownership education classes in English and Spanish, sells new and rehabbed homes throughout Chicago, and provides foreclosure prevention assistance. Since 1975, NHS has served more than 195,000 families.
The Forum topic, "REO to Rental," was a follow up to NHS' Annual HOPI conference in December 2011, where nearly 200 stakeholders attended.
BMO Harris Bank N.A., a part of BMO Financial Group, is the product of two well-known banking institutions, M&I and Harris, merging in 2011. Guided by the strength and vision of BMO Financial Group, a top-ten North American bank, BMO Harris Bank operates more than 700 branches and 1350 ATMs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana, Missouri, Kansas, Arizona, Nevada and Florida and serves more than two million customers in the U.S.
Contact: Stephanie Martel, NHS of Chicago
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