Given my position as City Manager it’s probably not a stretch to accuse me of being biased — guilty as charged — but I happen to think that the City of Kent has some exceptional people on staff. I know they have good days and bad days (who doesn’t?) but overall this is a talented bunch of professionals and I’m grateful that I was given the chance to lead this organization with them.
One of our best free agent pick ups over the last couple of years was Bridget Susel, who among a lot of things that she does really well, somehow finds the time to be a great manager of our Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) programs — not easy, she just makes it look that way.
CDBG programs are extremely important in our community but they have so many accounting and documentation requirements that it would push most of us to the brink. Somehow Bridget finds ways to grind through the minutae without losing sight of the larger goals and that’s what separates our CDBG programs from so many others that I’ve seen sufficate under the weight of their administrative burdens.
So when Bridget asked me to share information about a couple of new Federal and State programs for housing assistance that can help people in distress here in Kent, I was happy to do so:
Foreclosure Prevention Assistance
The City of Kent continues to see a rise in foreclosures throughout the community. Although the majority of these foreclosures seem to be adversely affecting lower income households, there has been a significant number foreclosures occurring in middle and upper income households as well.
In an attempt to assist those hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis, the U.S. Department of the Treasury has been providing funds to states, including Ohio, that are reporting a disproportionately large number of foreclosures and high unemployment rates. Ohio was awarded $570 million to support the Restoring Stability: A Save the Dream Ohio Initiative which provides funding assistance to Ohio residents who are at a high risk of mortgage loan default or foreclosure.
The Restoring Stability: A Save the Dream Ohio Initiative is comprised of four programs that provide assistance to Ohio homeowners who have a temporary or permanent reduction in income and as a result, are at a high risk of mortgage loan default or foreclosure. The four available programs include:
1) Rescue Payment Assistance Program: Provides a payment to the mortgage lender to help delinquent borrowers become current on their first mortgage.
2) Partial Mortgage Payment Assistance Program: Provides up to 15 months of assistance for unemployed homeowners while they search for employment or participate in job training.
3) Modification Assistance with Principal Reduction Program: Provides an incentive payment, matched by an investor, to reduce the mortgage principal balance so a loan modification may be possible.
4) Transition Assistance Program: Provides an incentive payment to the mortgage lender and homeowner to assist with short sale or deed-in-lieu agreements to help homeowners exit their homes with dignity.
Any City of Kent homeowner who is experiencing difficulty with meeting their monthly mortgage payment obligations is encouraged to apply for assistance. Information and applications for the program are available online at www.savethedream.ohio.gov or through the Save the Dream Ohio hotline at 888-404-4674.