Friday, March 30, 2012

Congratulations, Wave 29!!

Congratulations to Wave 29, who graduated from New Century IDA Tuesday, March 27. It was a great evening for all involved. You can see the excitement in the pictures below.

Wave 29 Graduates

These kids came to celebrate with their parents.
They are all excited about moving into their own home!

Thanks to our sponsors:
 Francine Taylor from Southern Community Bank
and Dee Oliver from Allen Tate Realtors!

Throughout the evening, graduates celebrated their achievements. It required hard work and determination for each of these individuals to complete the financial literacy curriculum and to graduate from New Century IDA. They were all reminded that this is not the end but just the beginning. As they begin looking for homes over the next few months, they will have to keep practicing what they learned in the IDA program. Most importantly, they will continue to budget and save! 

It was a great night, and we look forward to celebrating with each of these people again when they close on their homes!

To share in the excitement of the evening, watch Twana Roebuck, Executive Director of ESR, deliver closing remarks and cheer on the graduates!

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Growing Problem of Concentrated Poverty of NC

A growing number of North Carolinians are living in concentrated poverty neighborhoods. If your neighborhood in particular hasn’t been affected, you may wonder why this is important. The North Carolina Justice Center released a report this month, “Barriers to Opportunity: The Growing Problem of Concentrated Poverty in North Carolina’s Neighborhoods” to detail this issue and explain why it matters.

Using data from the United States Census Bureau, the NC Justice Center found that as of 2006 to 2010, there were 100 areas of concentrated poverty in North Carolina- nearly triple the number from 2000. Data also shows that 143,445 poor residents live in these extremely poor areas, which is 3.5 times the number in 2000.

Areas of concentrated poverty are defined as census tracts with poverty rates of 40% or more, using the federal poverty level.

Patterns of concentrated poverty have persisted for decades because of factors such as rapid suburbanization, deindustrialization, commercial disinvestment, and racial discrimination in housing markets. Government policies, such as home ownership subsidies, public housing location decisions, interstate and highway subsidies, and deterioration in local services, have also contributed to concentrated poverty.

Being poor and residing in a poor neighborhood is known as a “double burden” because it magnifies and perpetuates the problems that poor people face. Research shows that residential segregation of people who are poor leads to negative neighborhood effects, which are community influences on individual socioeconomic outcomes. Neighborhood effects include low- quality educational opportunities, weaker employment networks, and higher rates of crime.

Data also shows that in 2006- 2010, 10.4 percent of the state’s impoverished children lived in concentrated poverty neighborhoods. This is particularly alarming for a number of reasons. Research shows that regardless of family income, children raised in these neighborhoods have less access to good quality schools, early education programs, and social networks that foster healthy development. They are also at higher risk of poor outcomes, including higher stress levels, higher dropout rates, and more emotional problems.

Opportunity structure is deeply connected to the neighborhood. As a result, concentrated poverty neighborhoods have great implications for the families that live there and particularly for the children that grow up there.

For this very reason, New Century IDA is proud that its graduates can purchase a home any where in Forsyth County. By not limiting its clients to certain neighborhoods, the IDA program gives people more options and does not contribute to creating poverty concentrated neighborhoods. However, there is still much work to be done and this is an issue that we should all be aware of.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Evolving Household Dynamics ("I am Woman, Hear Me Roar")

As the economy and job market have changed over the last several years, it is no secret that family structure and the way families operate has changed in order to adapt. In the latest Time Magazine cover story “Women, Money, and Power,” Liza Mundy writes, “Not since women entered the work force by the millions after WWII has America witnessed economic change on this scale.”

The workforce is changing. It has become common for married women to work and even to outearn their husbands. In 2009, nearly 4 in 10 working wives outearned their husbands, which is an increase of more than 50% from 20 years before. Women also make up 60% of college students and earn a majority of doctorates and master’s degrees. Some experts predict that within the next 25 years professions such as law and medicine will be dominated by females.

There has also been a dramatic increase in the number of single parent families. 41% of babies are now born to single women. Young women are acutely aware of the potential that they may be the sole earner in their household and that supporting a family is a far greater responsibility than just supporting oneself.

As more women are the co-breadwinners and primary breadwinners for the families, assumptions about how the household works are changing. Women’s earnings and financial status give them more economic influence both at home and in public. It is predicted that rates of cohabitation and single living will continue to rise because women can afford to wait. Financially secure single women are a growing market for restaurants, travel, and real estate.

The growing trend of female supported households is evident at New Century IDA. The majority of IDA clients are single mothers. Each of these women have earned income with which they support themselves and their families. A common thread among these women is that they are motivated to participate in New Century IDA and become home owners because of their children. They all want to have a stable environment in which to raise their children, and they want to give their children a better life than they had. Many of them are also proud to show their children what they can accomplish on their own, without the help of a man.

If the present trends continue, by the next generation more families will be supported by women than men. Has your family structure changed over the years? Let us know what you think, then take this quiz to see who holds the power in your household!

Time Magazine Cover March 26, 2012

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

LaTeesha's Story

Even though you may check our website and read our blog, to fully appreciate how New Century IDA empowers people you need to hear first hand from someone who has participated in the program.

LaTeesha is a graduate of Winston-Salem State and an Income Maintenance Caseworker in Family and Children’s Medicaid for Forsyth County. She has completed the financial literacy classes and will graduate from New Century IDA with Wave 29 on March 27th. Like many people who participate in New Century IDA, LaTeesha is motivated by her son. By achieving her goal of homeownership, her son will be able to grow up in his own family’s home. He will also learn what his mother is capable of and what can be achieved with hard work and dedication to a goal.

To learn more about LaTeesha’s experience in New Century IDA, watch the video below!

Thanks to LaTeesha for sharing her story! Congratulations on all of your achievements so far!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Tips for Avoiding Foreclosure

New Century IDA teaches people to budget and save in preparation for putting a down payment on a home. But it doesn’t stop there. New Century IDA wants each of its graduates to be prepared for not only purchasing a home, but for being able to stay in that home and maintain it. If you start having problems making your mortgage payment, it is important to be proactive and utilize the resources that are available to you in order to avoid foreclosure.

If you are having trouble making your mortgage payment, remember the following tips provided by New Century IDA.

1. Don't ignore the problem.
  • The further behind you get, the harder it will be to reinstate your loan.
2. Contact your lender as soon as you realize that you have a problem.
  • Lenders have options available that can help borrowers through difficult financial times.
3. Open and respond to all mail from your lender.
  • The first notices you receive will offer information about foreclosure prevention options.
  • Later mail may include notices of pending legal action. Failure to open mail is not an excuse in foreclosure court.
4. Know your mortgage rights.
  • Review your loan documents so you know what your lender may do if you can't make your payments.
  • Learn about foreclosure laws and time frames in your state by contacting the State Government Housing Office.
5. Understand foreclosure prevention options (aka loss mitigation).

6. Contact a HUD- approved housing counselor.
  • HUD funds free or low- cost housing counseling nationwide.
  • To find a HUD- approved housing counselor near you call (800) 569-4287 or (800) 877-8339.
7. Prioritize your spending.
  • After healthcare, keeping your house should be your top priority.
  • Review your finances to see where you can cut spending.
8. Use your assets.
  • Do you have assets you can sell for cash? Can you get an extra job?
  • Demonstrate to your lender that you are willing to make sacrifices to keep your home.
9. Avoid foreclosure prevention companies.
  • You don't need to pay fees for foreclosure prevention help!
10. Don't lose your house to foreclosure recovery scams!
  • If a firm claims that they can stop your foreclosure immediately and you can sign a document appointing them to act on your behalf, you may actually be signing over the title to your property.
  • Never sign a legal document without getting the advice of an attorney, real estate professional, or a HUD- approved housing counselor.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Avoid the Traps of Predatory Lenders

Unfortunately, predatory lenders are on the loose, and they will hunt you down. If you are thinking about refinancing or buying a new home, it is important to know how to spot predatory lenders so you don’t get trapped. The National Fair Housing Alliance has provided some very useful tips to help avoid the traps of a predatory lender. Here are a few of their tips:

  • The mortgage broker quotes one interest rate but tries to charge you another
  • There are unusual and unexpected fees
  • The mortgage broker says your credit score requires a higher interest rate
  • The loan is tied to a prepayment penalty
  • Right before closing, the lender throws unexpected changes at you
  • The mortgage broker asks you to sign blank forms

Be sure to check out the video below from Freddie Mac.

You can also get more information at or by calling 1-866-222-FAIR. If you know of a scammer, report them at 1-888-995-HOPE.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

North Carolina Foreclosure Prevention Fund

If you haven’t heard of the North Carolina Foreclosure Prevention Fund, keep reading! This just may be a program that could help you or someone you know.

The N.C. Foreclosure Prevention Fund is offered by the N.C. Housing Finance Agency. It helps North Carolina homeowners who are struggling to pay their mortgage because of job loss or temporary financial hardship that occurred January 1, 2008 or later.

The N.C. Foreclosure Prevention Fund offers zero-interest, deferred loans up to $24,000 to cover your mortgage and related expenses for up to 24 months. If you live in one of North Carolina’s counties with the highest unemployment, you may even be eligible for up to $36,000 over 36 months.

To be eligible you must meet the following criteria:

  • Need assistance with payments for your principal residence, which must be located in North Carolina
  • Have satisfactory mortgage payment history prior to your financial hardship
  • Demonstrate an ability to resume your mortgage payment once assistance ends
  • Be a legal resident of the United States

If this sounds like a program that you could benefit from, fill out the eligibility form to find out if you qualify. If you are deemed eligible, you can either apply online or contact  a housing counselor in your area.

If you qualify for a loan from the N.C. Foreclosure Prevention Fund, the N.C. Housing Finance Agency will make your mortgage payment directly to your loan provider or bank. You will be expected to resume making your own mortgage payment once assistance ends.

The great news is that you will pay no interest on your loan. If you remain in your home for at least 10 years, the loan will be forgiven and you owe nothing!

For more information about how to access this program in Forsyth County, contact Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Forsyth County at 336.896.1191.

Watch the video below for more information on how the mortgage payment program works.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Growing Number of Americans Living in Poverty

It’s no secret that more Americans are struggling to stay in the middle class. However, the number of Americans living in poverty are quite staggering. The Census Bureau released a report that shows a record number of Americans are living in poverty- 46 million. This is the highest number reported since the Census Bureau began tracking poverty rates in 1959.

The Census Bureau also reported that the number of families living below the poverty line increased by 18%, from 7.3 million in 2006 to 8.6 million in 2010. In 2010, the poverty line for a family of four was a household income of $22,314 or less. 

There is also a trend of more poor people living in the suburbs.  The number of poor people living in the suburbs of metropolitan areas increased by 24%, from 14.4 million in 2006 to 17.8 million last year. As a comparison, the number of poor living in cities rose by 20%.

As the number of Americans living in poverty are growing, the faces of poverty are changing as well. Timothy Smeeding, director of the Institute for Research on Poverty at the  University of Wisconsin- Madison says “It’s all about joblessness. There’s just not enough work.” The Great Recession has left many Americans struggling to find employment. According to an article in the USA Today, it has not only made the poor poorer, but it has affected those who thought they had escaped poverty as well as those who never imagined being thrust into poverty. The college-educated, the former middle- class worker, the suburbanite, and the homeowner can now all be found among the poor. 

For stories about families that are trying to escape poverty, read the article Poverty Affects 46 Million Americans by Marisol Bello and watch the video below.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Exciting Day for New Century IDA!

Yesterday was a great day for New Century IDA. We had two closings yesterday afternoon! Closings are always exciting for New Century IDA and its clients.

Tasha Adams and Tisha Shaver both closed on their homes. For both of these women, closing on their home meant they had achieved their goal of homeownership. This is a great accomplishment, and one that took determination and dedication. Tasha and Tisha both had to complete 24 hours of financial literacy courses and 8 hours of homeownership training as well as pay off debts and raise their credit score in order to prove that they were ready for homeownership.

Tasha and Tisha both proved that they were up to the challenge! At their closings today, they were both surrounded by people from the New Century IDA team to help celebrate the occasion.

Jackie Baldwin, the IDA success coach, was there from Experiment in Self Reliance as well as Bianca Green, a loan officer from Forsyth County Department of Housing.

Dee Oliver from Allen Tate Real Estate was also there. Dee was the realtor for both Tasha and Tisha. As a sponsor for IDA classes, Dee gets to know IDA clients. She can help them find a house that is affordable for them but that also fits their needs.

Tom Jacobs from Hinshaw and Jacobs was the attorney for the closings and is always able to make the closings run smoothly and efficiently for IDA clients!

New Century IDA is grateful for all of these partners that help turn the dream of homeownership into a reality. Congratulations to Tasha and Tisha. Your hard work has paid off, and you are officially homeowners!

Check out the pictures below to share in the excitement!

Tasha signing the papers!

Tasha with her success coach, Jackie Baldwin, and her realtor Dee Oliver.

What a great smile! Tisha is closing on her home!

Tisha with her loan officer Lisa Wright, success coach Jackie Baldwin, and realtor Dee Oliver.
If you or someone you know is interested in applying for New Century IDA, check out the application and call 336-722-9400 x. 410 with any questions.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

More Americans Can't Afford Food

An article in The Huffington Post by Alexander Eichler reveals a disturbing statistic. More Americans are struggling to afford basic necessities, including food. A report from the Food Research and Action Center said that more Americans struggled to buy food in 2011 than in any other year of the financial crisis. 18.6 percent of people reported that they couldn’t always afford to feed their whole family in 2011.

Despite the economic recovery, incomes for many Americans have failed to keep pace with the cost of living. According to the Census Bureau, 46 million people lived below the poverty line in 2010, a record number that some estimates project is actually much higher. Another study done by Wider Opportunities for Women found that 45% of people have reported not being able to cover their basic living expenses, including food, shelter, and transportation.

Even though the official poverty rate is about 15%, over two-fifths of Americans are unable to save adequate amounts. One financial emergency is all it would take to push them into poverty.

Financial insecurity is being felt all the way down to the level of everyday spending. The Center for Housing Policy recently found that a growing number of middle income owners and renters are paying more than half their earnings just for a place to live.

As a result, people are sacrificing in other areas. A report published recently by the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that in 2009, one in five Americans over 50 years old were skipping doctor visits, switching to cheaper medications, or forgoing medicines entirely out of financial necessity.

It is concerning that so many Americans are having to sacrifice basic necessities. As hunger is becoming more widespread across America, it is important to realize that the entire country ends up paying one way or another. While the people who can not afford food suffer the most, the social costs incurred are great. It is estimated that social costs- from money spent to operate food pantries to the diminished earning power of impoverished children- come to about $167  billion a year, or $542 for every man, woman, and child in the country.

These are eye opening statistics. They serve as a powerful reminder of how important it is to promote financial security through saving and asset building.

To read the article “Growing Number of Americans Can’t Afford Food, Study Finds”, click here.