Here comes the SUN : a case study of the Stabilizing Urban Neighborhoods Initiative in Boston, Massachusetts
Author(s)Valle, Brian P. (Brian Philip)
Here comes the Stabilizing Urban Neighborhoods
Case study of the Stabilizing Urban Neighborhoods Initiative in Boston, Massachusetts
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
James Michael Buckley.
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Since the onset of the current U.S. foreclosure crisis, a variety of strategies have been developed at the federal, state, and local levels to respond to the negative effects of foreclosures on households and neighborhoods. To date, the impact of these prevention and mitigation programs has been small compared to the scale of the problem, presenting a substantial opportunity for new models for addressing foreclosures. In 2009, Boston Community Capital (BCC), a non-profit community development financial institution, established the Stabilizing Urban Neighborhoods (SUN) Initiative, a $50 million pilot program targeted at distressed homeowners in Boston and Revere, Massachusetts who are at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure. In partnership with several Boston-area community organizations, BCC acquires occupied homes at discounted prices, often after foreclosure, and resells them to their existing occupants, providing residents with fixed-rate mortgages that enable them to keep their homes at affordable prices. In its short history, the SUN Initiative, which is funded almost entirely by private capital, has shown promise as an innovative model for preventing resident displacement in the wake of the foreclosure crisis; consequently, groups across the country have expressed interest in establishing similar programs in their own communities. In light of this attention, this thesis seeks to identify the critical factors that enable the SUN Initiative to work. Through interviews with SUN Initiative staff and other key stakeholders, as well as archival research, I argue that five organizational factors (fundraising ability; a strong balance sheet; an understanding of low-income borrowers and communities; effective community organizing and legal defense; and trust among partner organizations) and five structural and market factors (local presence; adequate loan loss reserves; a significant decline in housing prices; flexible capital; and management of moral hazard) are integral to the program's ability to keep residents in their homes. Based on these findings, I explore how BCC could replicate the program in other locations. Given that replication depends heavily on BCC's ability to sell a portfolio of seasoned SUN Initiative mortgages, I suggest ways that government entities can support such a transaction. While the SUN Initiative may not be a panacea for the mortgage crisis, I conclude that it is an important model that shows how private capital can be leveraged to address the foreclosure problem in the U.S.
Thesis (M.C.P.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 2011.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (p. 101-108).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.