Jeremiah Rally to Create City's largest-ever affordable homeownership strategy

Vincent Sylvain
Date Published: 
October 26, 2008


Jeremiah Rally to Create City's largest-ever affordable homeownership strategy

For Immediate Release
Non-partisan rally of Jeremiah leaders will kick off voter turnout drive and seek commitments on a sweeping housing program to provide $75 million in soft-second mortgages, reserve Road Home properties for affordable homeownership, and create a City and Bank-supported "Alternative Mortgage Program" to ensure access to reasonable credit for potential homebuyers

Media contacts Rob Steinfeld 256-7966 and Tenaj Jones 491-1179

Democracy in Action: Jeremiah Rally to Create City's largest-ever affordable homeownership strategy

New Orleans - On Sunday, October 26th, at 5pm, over 400 leaders of The Jeremiah Group will seek commitments from City, State, Federal and Private Sector officials, to create the largest and most comprehensive affordable homeownership strategy in the history of New Orleans. The event also will be a rally to celebrate the success of Jeremiah's voter registration drive and a kick-off of Jeremiah's non- partisan get-out-the-vote campaign.

Sunday, Oct 26th, 5:00pm
Historic St. James A.M.E Church, 222 N Roman St., New Orleans, LA

Confirmed attendees to include; Dr. Ed Blakely, City of New Orleans; Herschell Abbot & Joe Williams, NORA Board Chair and Exec Director; Mtumishi St. Julien, Finance Authority of New Orleans; Wil Jacobs, Louisiana Recovery Authority; Bill Jefferson and Helena Moreno, Candidates for U.S. Congress, District 2; Ashton Ryan, President of First NBC Bank; Gary Williams, Director of Hope Community Credit Union; and Nicole Mackie, Capital One Bank.

For over a year, Jeremiah leaders have held house- meetings, conducted research, and organized voters to create a strategy that will transform Road Home properties into an asset to spur redevelopment and the growth of affordable homeownership. Already, Jeremiah has won $75 million from the LRA for soft- second mortgages and a commitment from NORA to set aside 25-50% of Road Home properties for affordable homeownership.

The event on Sunday will be the capstone of Jeremiah's voter registration drive, conducted within schools, colleges, festivals, community walks and public businesses and which has been recognized by the Jefferson Parish Registrar of Voters as one of the most effective he has seen. Through community walks and registration drives in Jeremiah congregations, excitement started building for participation Jeremiah's housing strategy.

"We're proud of our victories so far," said Janet Barnwell, a Jeremiah leader. "But we know that too many recovery efforts have money attached to them, but are getting stuck in bureaucracy. On Sunday, we're going to make sure legislation becomes action."

Jeremiah leaders will be seeking aggressive timelines for the delivery of land and money by the LRA, transformed guidelines for the soft-second mortgage program from the Finance Authority of New Orleans and the creation of a new Alternative Mortgage Program by Dr. Blakely and local banks to assure working families have access to responsible credit.

On October 26th leaders and volunteers will rally their voices in support of the housing program, while anxiously awaiting to cast their ballot in the upcoming election.

Jeremiah will seek the following commitments from public officials:
Will the Louisiana Recovery Authority commit to transfer title on at least 1000 Road Home properties to NORA and to final approval of New Orleans' $52.3 million in soft-second funds by December 31st, 2008?
Will the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority support granting Road Home Properties to homebuilders to assure affordability and to providing 3-month progress reports to Jeremiah on the number of properties received and redeveloped, including affordable homes?
Will the Finance Authority of New Orleans commit to Jeremiah's guidelines for soft-second mortgages, of zero-interest loans of up to $65,000 and 100% loan- forgiveness after 10 years?
Will the City of New Orleans commit to creating a $4 million "loan loss reserve" fund to encourage lending institutions to participate in an Alternative Mortgage Program for working families?
Will First NBC Bank and Hope Community Credit Union commit to participating in an Alternative Mortgage Program, to assure that loans will be available at affordable rates to working families, despite the credit crisis?

The Jeremiah Group is a broad-based organization of New Orleans-area religious congregations, schools and other institutions, which is part of the Louisiana Industrial Areas Foundation. It is a non-partisan community-organizing group, which develops citizen leadership to achieve change around the interests of families and communities.

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Vincent Sylvain
The New Orleans Agenda
email: vincent [at] sylvainsolutions [dot] com
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