National CAPACD Newsletter: April 2013

National CAPACD Annual Convention - Join Us June 2nd-5th in Washington, DC!

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Take advantage of early bird rates and register today for our annual gathering of community organizers, housing and community development practitioners, advocates, and social justice allies!

This year's Annual Convention, “Building Equity, Building Power: Redefining Community Development,” will engage National CAPACD's network in strategic conversations around key policy issues, including the continuing economic recovery, housing finance reform and immigration reform. Hundreds of community development practitioners from across the country will gather together to identify innovative solutions to the challenges faced by economically disadvantaged and underserved Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. With so much at stake, our members and organizational allies will be working closely with industry partners and policymakers to address the financial security of our families and rebuild the long-term economic strength of our nation.
 
Confirmed speakers include Shaun Donovan, Secretary of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development; Congressman Keith Ellison (MN-05); and Rinku Sen, President and Executive Director of the Applied Research Center (ARC) and Publisher of Colorlines.com. Check back to our website for updates on additional speakers!
 
 
Early bird rate for National CAPACD members: $175
Early bird rate for nonprofit staff: $280 
Early bird rate for general attendees: $365 
 
 
 
Win a Free Registration to the National CAPACD Convention!
 
"Like" National CAPACD on Facebook and you'll be entered into a drawing to win a free registration to National CAPACD's 13th annual convention!

Already like us? Congratulations - you've automatically been entered! Tell a friend about our page and help us reach our goal of 500 "likes"- they'll be entered into the drawing too!
 
Our Facebook page provides the latest critical content on key housing, economic and community development policies and initiatives impacting AAPIs. Our annual convention brings together hundreds of community development practitioners from across the country to identify innovative solutions to the challenges faced by economically disadvantaged and underserved Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. This year, we'll be featuring convention updates here first - letting you know in real time as we add speakers and workshops to the schedule. 
 
Don't miss this great chance to win a free convention registration! (don't worry, we'll refund you if you've already registered!)
 
 
National CAPACD Co-hosts a Convening with National Mortgage Settlement Monitor Joseph Smith
 
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On February 27th, advocates and housing counselors met with Joseph Smith, monitor of the recent National Mortgage Settlement between 49 state attorneys general and five of the largest mortgage servicers, calling for more transparency and accountability in the foreclosure settlement.
 
Housing counselors from across the country pushed for language accessibility, increased principal reductions, effective outreach to underserved communities of color and the collection of data to determine how the settlement dollars are being allocated.
 
Following Mr. Smith’s remarks, Lisa Hasegawa, Executive Director of National CAPACD, moderated a panel discussion highlighting grassroots advocates and practitioners, including Drew Astolfi, Executive Director of Faith Action for Community Equity in Hawaii. Among the critical concerns raised by the panelists is the banks’ tendency to prioritize short sales and second-lien reductions instead of first-lien modifications. Short sales and second-loan modifications offer little help to most families trying to stay in their homes.
 
The event was hosted by the Alliance for Stabilizing Our Communities, a collaborative of the National Urban League, the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development, and the National Council of La Raza.  
 
For more information on the National Mortgage Settlement, please check out an op-ed by Lisa Hasegawa, Janet Murguia, and Marc Morial. Additional press coverage of the event can be found here:
 
 
 
Housing Counseling Network Meets with the Department of Justice
 
Following the February 27th National Mortgage Settlement Convening, housing counselors from the National CAPACD network joined housing counseling advocates for a discussion with the Department of Justice’s Housing and Civil Enforcement Section, which oversees fair lending and fair housing cases. 
 
During the meeting, counselors from the National CAPACD network raised concerns about language access and other barriers that LEP families are facing when seeking safe financial products and affordable home loans. Counselors noted that language barriers often delay the loan modification process, which puts LEP consumers at a higher risk of default. Further, counselors pointed out that there are no regulations or standards to ensure that translators hired by banks are able to understand and relay complex financial information to LEP consumers effectively.
 
National CAPACD will continue to work with the Department of Justice to ensure that our communities have access to safe and affordable financial products.
 
 
Upcoming: Asset Building Policy Network Webinar
 
Register today for the first in a series of Asset Building webinars hosted by the Asset Building Policy Network (ABPN)!
 
What is Asset Building?
12:30 – 2:00 p.m. PDT / 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. EDT
 
This webinar will offer information about assets as a way to build financial stability for low-income communities of color; asset building tools and resources for programs and clients; and ways to integrate asset building strategies in programs through case studies and examples.
 
You will hear from three ABPN affiliates serving low-income communities of color who are running successful asset-building programs. During the webinar, we will explore:
  • Innovative financial products and services such as rental matched savings and credit building programs to prepare clients to build assets
  • Integrated service delivery that bundles business development, information technology and credit repair training and services
  • Client-centered financial security programing that leverages a range of services provided by a single organization
Presenters:
  • Jeff Gilbreath - Executive Director, Hawaiian Community Assets
  • Luis Granados - Executive Director, Mission Economic Development Agency
  • Courtnee Biscardi - Vice President of Programs & Operations, Urban League of Broward County
We will also administer a short, six question survey before and after the webinar to gain insights from the field about how asset building is helping to improve client service delivery and outcomes.  The webinar is offered through the internet and as a conference call for those who opt not to use the internet.
 
The webinar is free to all interested participants. In advance of the webinar, please send any questions you would like our panelists to address during the session to Kim Pate at kim@cfed.org, or call 202-207-0134.
 
 
Please contact Alvina Condon at Alvina@nationalcapacd.org if you have any questions about the webinar.
 
 
ACTION TA Recipient Profile: Chinese Community Center and Small Business Assistance in Houston
 
In Southwest Houston, along the major thoroughfare of Bellaire Boulevard, Houston’s “Chinatown” is a growing commercial district with many new Chinese, Vietnamese and other Asian ethnic-owned businesses. One recent report estimates that there are over 400 AAPI-owned businesses in the immediate area.
 
While many of these businesses thrive, there are impediments to their continued success. There is a major reconstruction of Bellaire Boulevard underway that will disrupt traffic flow in the neighborhood for at least two years (a similar two-year planned project in one of Houston’s Latino-town corridors, Fulton, is currently in its fourth year). Also, as in many of our neighborhoods, locally and regionally available small business resources are underutilized by AAPI entrepreneurs.
 
Founded originally in 1979 as a Chinese language school, Houston’s Chinese Community Center (CCC) is Texas’ largest AAPI-led social service agency and a United Way of Greater Houston Agency since 1991. Since summer of last year, CCC has been convening local businesses to discuss the Bellaire reconstruction project and to help the businesses to provide a platform for immigrant entrepreneurs to voice their concerns, advocate for programs to mitigate potential business loss and raise resources to help them survive and thrive. CCC’s outreach to local businesses was started as part of the organization’s new Small Business Development Initiative (SBDI), a program based out of their Financial Opportunity Center. The SBDI serves existing and potential Chinese- and Vietnamese-speaking business owners in their native languages, providing education and counseling for LEP entrepreneurs to better access available small business resources.
 
National CAPACD, through our ACTION TA Program, is supporting CCC to develop and grow its SBDI programming through a small grant to CCC and, more importantly, providing mentorship and peer-to-peer counseling from Renaissance Economic Development Corporation (REDC), a successful and experienced small business assistance provider and lender based in the Chinatown neighborhood of New York. CCC and REDC’s participation in the current year’s ACTION TA cohort group (8 of 12 of this year’s ACTION TA participants are working on small business issues) represents National CAPACD’s growing focus on small businesses assistance in a neighborhood/commercial corridor both as an economic development and a community development strategy.
 
The ACTION TA program is generously supported by the Citi Foundation. 
 
 
Update on the Independent Foreclosure Review
 
Two years ago, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Federal Reserve Board (Federal Reserve) established the Independent Foreclosure Review (IFR) with fourteen mortgage servicing companies in response to their unsound foreclosure processing practices. 
 
On January 7, 2013, however, the OCC and the Federal Reserve announced that the IFR process would be eliminated and replaced by a $9.3 billion settlement with the mortgage servicing companies, which includes direct cash payments and non-monetary assistance to eligible borrowers. 
 
Under the new settlement, eligible borrowers will now receive compensation whether or not they requested a review under the IFR process. No action is required for borrowers to be eligible for compensation. The OCC and Federal Reserve will release cash payments to borrowers beginning on April 12th through mid-July and will range from $300 to $125,000.
 
It is important to note that borrowers will not be required to waive any legal claims they may have against their servicer as a condition for receiving payment. The servicers' internal complaint process remains available to borrowers.
 
For more detailed information on the settlement, please check out the “IFR Payment Toolkit”
 
Additional information and answers to frequently asked questions for eligible borrowers are available here
 
For borrowers serviced by mortgage servicing companies still continuing with the independent foreclosure review process,information and answers to frequently asked questions are available here.
 
 
Sequestration, the Continuing Resolution, and the 2014 Federal Budget
 
A few weeks ago, the President signed a “continuing resolution” (CR) to fund the federal government through September 30th and avoid a government shutdown. The CR is a stopgap measure, so funding levels determined back in 2011 - the last time Congress passed a budget - will simply extend through the end of this fiscal year. 
 
The CR does NOT change the sequestration cuts scheduled to take effect over the next decade, so sequestration is likely to stay unless specifically addressed by Congress sometime down the line. 
 
Now that the CR has passed, all focus in Washington DC now shifts to the 2014 federal budget, scheduled to take effect when the CR expires on October 1st, 2013. 
 
National CAPACD is working with Congress and the Administration to ensure that housing and community development programs are a top priority. We will provide updates to you as the 2014 budget discussions move forward this year.