Photo by Jeylin White
Vaughn Irons, CEO of APD Solutions (from left); Riverdale Mayor Evelyn Wynn-Dixon, and Wole Ralph, vice chairman of the Clayton County Commission, joined other officials in announcing a $15 million housing initiative aimed at getting foreclosed houses rehabilitated and sold.
Several Clayton County dignitaries and public officials have joined the City of Riverdale in launching a $15 million housing initiative, known as “Get Home Now.” It is designed to give residents a chance at becoming homeowners, and, thereby, spur the rehabilitation of distressed homes, and stimulate home sales.
The announcement of the program was made Wednesday morning at Riverdale City Hall, located at 7200 Church Street in Riverdale. Speakers at the event included: Clayton County Commission Vice Chairman Wole Ralph; Riverdale Mayor Evelyn Wynn-Dixon; Chief Executive Officer Vaughn Irons, of APD Solutions; Carrie Harris, CEO of The D&E Group, in Morrow; James Cromartie, assistant vice president with First Guarantee Mortgage Corporation; and Barbara Dyer, president of Metro South Association of Realtors.
Mayor Wynn-Dixon said the overall objective was to address the foreclosure-and vacant-home issue, which officials say, has the county ranked as the number one community in the state, with 16.1 percent of its housing inventory in distress.
“Everybody wants to own something,” said Wynn-Dixon. “We are finding a resolution to help our community and give families a chance to feel like they have obtained something.”
Vaughn Irons, chief executive officer of APD Solutions (APDS), a national neighborhood revitalization firm, said the company will team up with elected officials and key community stakeholders to spread the word about the Get Home Now program. APD has been helping families across the country, Irons said, acquire and rehab vacant and foreclosed houses.
“Abandoned homes, often times, create blight for communities, as they can become a haven for drugs, prostitution and other illegal activity,” said Wole Ralph, vice chairman of the Clayton Board of Commissioners. “APD Solutions’ Get Home Now Program creates market opportunities that remove blight, increase property values, and improve the quality of life for citizens residing in these communities.”
According to Irons, ADP Solutions will combine new mortgage capital and home-renovation products with flexible credit requirements, which will provide a viable option for increasing homeownership, reducing the number of vacant homes resulting from foreclosures, and stabilizing real estate values. Those things, he said, should help strengthen the local tax base.
“Clayton County has the largest percentage of foreclosures in metropolitan Atlanta,” added Irons. “We are pleased to introduce Get Home Now as a viable option for increasing homeownership throughout the county, while minimizing the number of vacant homes resulting from foreclosures.”
Veda Brown, CEO of Women’s Empowerment Inc., a non-profit, domestic abuse organization, in Clayton County, attended Wednesday’s press conference. She said there are women in her program, who would benefit from this new housing initiative.
“This program will allow us to put many women, who are coming out of bad relationships, into affordable houses,” said Brown. “I think [it] is just a wonderful opportunity for citizens.”
Irons said APD Solutions has secured a $15 million capital commitment for Clayton County’s mortgages and repairs through Get Home Now’s participating lenders. He said, of that amount, $5 million has been designated for the City of Riverdale.
Irons added that the program will include a flexible package of mortgage products, and development oversight designed to encourage the rehabilitation of vacant, affordable homes. It will help new buyers and existing residents borrow up to 110 percent of home value to finance repairs, renovations, acquisitions or existing debt, he said. Another incentive is that the lender, First Guaranty Mortgage Corporation, will provide credit-enhanced FHA mortgage products that offer low down payment requirements and flexible credit options, he said.
Qualified families can obtain a mortgage by having a minimum credit score of 580, Irons added. But qualified families will have to participate in a local pre-purchase, home-buyer training program. In addition, the program has made special provisions for the county’s police officers, firefighters, military personnel and teachers. They can be accepted with a credit score of 550, he said.