Rondo Foreclosure Projects. Rondo has developed two foreclosure initiatives aimed at helping families stay in their homes in the face of financial difficulties. With the support and guidance from the cities of St. Paul, Shoreview, and North St. Paul, and assistance from Ramsey County, we have developed and started to implement the Rondo Pilot Foreclosure Prevention Project and the Sustainable Home Ownership Program (SHOP). The programs are available to families living in Ramsey County that are at or below 80% of the HUD median income guidelines.
The Foreclosure Prevention Project has assisted two families to date, and we hope to assist another six to eight in the coming year. The project is designed to assist households who are behind in their mortgage and/or property taxes and choose to come into the Trust. In exchange, the Trust provides funds to lower the mortgage or bring property taxes current, and to address major building systems (roofs, furnaces, and plumbing, etc.). In the case of the mortgage foreclosure, we would work with the lender to rework the mortgage to make it affordable long term for the family. The family remains in the home, the mortgage becomes affordable, and deferred maintenance issues are addressed all at the same time.
The second project, SHOP Program Collaborative is a collaboration with the Sustainable Home Ownership Program (SHOP), a program of Greater Metropolitan Housing Corporation in partnership with Dayton's Bluff Neighborhoods Housing Services.
In our first project in collaboration with SHOP, the lender agreed to sell at a reduced price, below the outstanding mortgage amount, and the property was sold to the SHOP Program Collaborative. The family entered into a three-year contract for deed with SHOP to give them time to rebuild their credit. Once their credit has been rebuilt, they will apply for a 30-year mortgage and address deferred maintenance issues (updating plumbing and painting the exterior of the home).
In the second project, the household had no mortgage, but had fallen behind in property tax payments. Using nongovernment funds, Rondo along with the City of St. Paul, brought the delinquent property tax payments up to date, addressed deferred maintenance items, and brought the property into the Trust.
We see the foreclosure projects as a way to help stabilize low-income households in danger of losing their homes. Over the years, the stable affordable housing offered by Rondo has been an effective anti-poverty tool. Many of the families in the Trust are single parent families with a high proportion of families of color, a population often susceptible to poverty. Moving into a land trust home has given these families the stability they need to improve their lives. Many of our families, primarily single parents, have been able to return to school, improve their job skills, and as result get a better paying job.
Rondo Homeownership Stabilization Project and Emergency Mortgage Loan Fund. In order to support our current and future homeowners, we are now providing financial counseling through LSS and NeDA for current land trust homeowners. Rondo will continue the Emergency Mortgage Loan Fund to assist current homeowners. Rondo has created a fund that can be used to help families that are unable make their next mortgage payment due to loss of hours at work or medical or other short-term crises. Up to two payments will be made by Rondo. The mortgage payment is made directly to the mortgage company and a note is attached to the end of the mortgage making the emergency loan due on sale of the property.