In the face of widespread foreclosures and predatory lending, Industrial Areas Foundation organizations of the West and Southwest are developing the capacity of leaders to fight for fair lending practices, foreclosure prevention, alternative avenues to credit and greater opportunities for home ownership.
Through small group conversations, civic academies on financial literacy, and careful cultivation of institutional relationships, organizations are carving out victories across the region, including the sample below:
North Texas IAF Limits Payday Lending in Arlington, Texas
After a congregational development process involving 3,000 parishioners unearthed innumerable stories of the devastating impact of payday lending on parishioners of St. Joseph's Catholic, parish leaders stood with the Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops to call on the City of Arlington to better regulate payday and title loan lending. Within a month, leaders compelled Arlington City Council members to become the first city in Tarrant County to cap loans and require payday and auto title businesses to register and adhere to fair business practices. More here.
EPISO & Border Interfaith Create $13M Alternative Credit Option
In financial literacy civic academies organized in the poorest neighborhoods of El Paso, families revealed that when a tire blew, or a child got sick, they needed fast cash. Thought they had the capacity to repay small loans, they were shut out of traditional consumer credit markets due to lack of credit.
Organizers and leaders identified a VP of the Greater El Paso Credit Union (GECU), a parishioner of a member institution, who already had already begun to think about this underdeveloped market. They collaborated to create a federally-insured pilot program that provides short-term loans to families, with or without traditional credit. More here.
One LA Secures Principal Reductions in Los Angeles, California
In the face of destabilizing foreclosures in the San Fernando Valley and South Central Los Angeles, two thousand One LA leaders rallied to leverage $11 million from the City of LA and the California Housing Finance Agency to reduce mortgage principal for 'underwater' homeowners. Leaders then went on to win agreements with banks to negotiate modifications, saving more than 500 families from losing their homes. More here.
Jeremiah Group Expands Post-Katrina Home Ownership
After Hurricane Katrina, Jeremiah Group leaders heard story after story about New Orleans rent doubling and tripling in the recovering city, with renters in large part all but forgotten in the rebuilding process. In response, leaders created The Road Home -- a $75 Million program with "soft second mortgages" designed to help families with low incomes become buyers. More here.