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Washington DC Archive
| Posted: November 27th, 2012
As part of our ongoing tracking of the foreclosure crisis in the Washington, D.C., region, NeighborhoodInfo DC examined Notice of Intent to Foreclose (NOI) filings in Prince George’s County, MD, from July 2011 through June 2012. Among other findings, our analysis revealed stark differences in when mortgage servicers —banks that collect monthly mortgage payments, administer the loan, and handle foreclosures—issue NOIs. These differences in servicer behavior could have profound implications for troubled homeowners and whether they can become current again on their mortgages and keep their homes.
In Maryland, mortgage servicers must file an NOI at least 45 days before initiating a foreclosure action in court. Filing an NOI triggers a number of subsequent steps that must be completed before a foreclosure sale can take place, including allowing the borrower to request mediation with the servicer within 25 days to negotiate a loan modification, short sale, or some other solution.
Bank of America and Wells Fargo are at opposite ends of the spectrum in the timing of their NOI filings. The median homeowner with mortgages serviced by Wells Fargo received NOIs much sooner, when they were less than two months delinquent in their payments, while Bank of America borrowers did not receive NOIs until they were nearly five months behind on payments. As a result, the median delinquent Bank of America borrower owed $9,300 on his mortgage at the time the NOI was issued, compared with $4,400 for the median Wells Fargo borrower. The difference in the amount owed could make it much harder for homeowners to catch up on payments and might result in many more foreclosed properties.
But does receiving an NOI sooner make it less likely that a homeowner will end up at a foreclosure sale? Our current data don’t tell us this because we cannot link NOIs to foreclosure sales nor can we account for other borrower or loan characteristics that might affect outcomes. While an NOI puts homeowners on a path that could result in losing their home, receiving a timelier NOI might motivate homeowners to seek help sooner, especially since the first page of the notice explains how to find housing counseling services. Research has shown that borrowers who seek solutions earlier, before they fall too far behind, are more likely to have successful outcomes.
Until we have better data, we are left wondering: Why do some servicers take longer than others to issue NOIs and what impact does that have on homeowners?
Want to see how the top six servicers—Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Citi, IndyMac Bank, and GMAC—compare? View Urban Institute maps of the foreclosure indicators by servicers.
Filed under: Washington DC 1 Comment »
| Posted: November 3rd, 2012
The MetroTrends blog had just two posts this week, due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy. Our best wishes are with everyone affected by the storm. Next week we will be back in full force with new posts about the election and about the public policy that will inform the next Presidential administration.
Filed under: Government, Washington DC Add a Comment »
- Julia Isaacs provided an interactive map and enlightening analysis about the doubling of food stamp use over the last five years. What is the right way to look at and assess that growth?
- Akiva Liberman wrote about a recent pilot study to reduce truancy rates in Washington, DC. The study’s results were mixed and raised more fundamental questions about school reform.
| Posted: September 26th, 2012
Census released annual poverty numbers last week and the news was grim. As MetroTrends reported, poverty levels rose or stayed the same in three of the country’s four major regions. The South saw the only regional decline, but started from a much higher level. Child poverty rates increased in many states: 27 have rates above 20 percent, compared with just 14 states pre-recession. While the Hispanic poverty rate fell from 26.5 percent in 2010 to 25.3 percent in 2011, it is still much higher than the national average of 15 percent (a figure that translates to 46 million Americans in poverty).
As the Washington Post reports, the District of Columbia’s trends largely mirrored those of the nation. From 2010 to 2011, poverty rates stayed flat even while median household incomes increased by $9,000 over five years. The Post also reported that District poverty rates (18 percent) and child poverty rates (30 percent) are high both by historic standards and compared with the national rates.
With District poverty largely unchanged, MetroTrends’ Poverty by Race interactive map still tells an important story about the geographic concentration of poverty in the nation’s capital. Each dot in the map represents 80 people living below poverty. The dots are colored according to race, and the slider compares figures from 1990, 2000, and 2005-2009. Change the zoom level to see the District, the Beltway area, or the whole Metro region. Where is poverty concentrated? Which people are most affected? How has the picture changed in 20 years? What is your neighborhood’s story?
Filed under: Washington DC Add a Comment »
| Posted: September 10th, 2012
A recent Gallup poll of all 50 states plus the District of Columbia found the DC area to be number one in terms of confidence in the economy, a ranking the district has held since 2009. DC was the only area to score positively on the Gallup Economic Confidence Index; 70 percent of those surveyed in the first half of 2012 believed that the economy was getting better.
For comparison’s sake, the second most positive was Minnesota, where less than half—48 percent—were willing to say that the economy was getting better. In West Virginia, the bottom of the list, less than a third thought the economy was improving.
A Gallup poll of major metro areas also placed DC at the top in confidence in the economy. Memphis, Salt Lake City, and Austin tied for second place, while Buffalo and Tampa-St. Petersburg sat at the bottom.
Why are Washingtonians so much more confident in the economy than everyone else? Gallup’s Lydia Saad notes that the District of Columbia, like others at the top of the list, also placed in the top 10 of Gallup’s Job Creation Index. Gallup also finds that economic confidence is correlated with political leanings: in 2012, Democrats expressed more confidence in the economy than Republicans or independents, suggesting that opinion of the current president is a factor. Given that DC is predominantly Democratic, this offers another explanation for its top ranking.
But does opinion match up with fact? POLICOM’s Economic Strength Ratings 2012 finds the Washington, DC, area to be number one in economic strength in 2011 and 2012 and number two from 2008 to 2010. So it would appear that DC residents do have good reason to be optimistic!
However, the connection between economic confidence and actual economic conditions isn’t always so straightforward. For example: in 2011, Memphis, Tennessee, and Tampa, Florida, were ranked 56th and 57th respectively in economic strength, putting them both in the top one-sixth of metropolitan areas. However, in Gallup’s 2011 poll, Memphis had the second-highest economic confidence score and Tampa had the second-lowest. What could cause such a large gap between cities with very similar economic conditions?
One possible explanation for this discrepancy is politics. A study from the Bay Area Center for Voting Research found that 73 percent of the population in Memphis voted liberal, and the city ranked 39th most liberal out of 237 cities surveyed. In Tampa, 57 percent of the vote was liberal, and the city was ranked 108. (Keep in mind that urban areas tend to lean towards liberal.) Did the politics of the respective cities push their opinion polls in opposite directions? Other undiscovered factors may also have played a role.
Although many pundits and reporters have proclaimed that this election will be all about the economy, I find it interesting that sometimes political views may influence confidence in the economy, not the other way around.
Filed under: Washington DC 1 Comment »
| Posted: September 7th, 2012
As part of our ongoing commitment to provide the data and tools necessary for the Washington, DC region to address its housing and foreclosure issues, NeighborhoodInfo DC recently released the second in a series of briefs about hard-hit Prince George’s County.
Part of this brief focused on six banks that collectively issued two-thirds of all Notices of Intent to Foreclose (NOIs) – the initial stage of foreclosure proceedings – in Prince George’s County from January 2011 to June 2012. In sum, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, Ally/GMAC, IndyMac and Citi filed NOIs on 35,586 residences, 72 percent of the total.
Number of NOIs by Mortgage Servicer
These six banks were all parties to the $26 billion settlement that resulted from “robo-signing” and other irregular foreclosure practices, and which ended up yielding Maryland nearly $1 billion in foreclosure-fighting resources.
Determining how, when and to whom to allocate those resources will be crucial for the long-term health of the Prince George’s housing market. Since many of the six-bank NOIs will be eligible for settlement funding, our interactive maps and data showing which areas were worst-hit provide one means of targeting resources effectively in Prince George’s. For instance, in which communities might it make sense to target loan modification? Which communities need wide-spread support like rental assistance, job placement and temporary income support as hundreds of families leave their homes? NeighborhoodInfoDC data and maps, used in conjunction with this Foreclosure-Response.org resource-targeting framework, can help answer these questions.
We’ve recently updated the map to include data through June 2012, and we will continue updating the data each quarter. The crisis runs deep and solutions will likely take years to gain traction. Best to get started as soon as possible with data-driven solutions; NeighborhoodInfo DC is here to help.
Filed under: Washington DC 1 Comment »
| Posted: September 6th, 2012
Prince George’s County, Maryland, has been hard-hit by the housing crisis. In the first half of 2012, six of every 100 homes in Prince George’s County entered foreclosure proceedings. In 2011 nearly one in six began the foreclosure process. In the last 18 months in Prince George’s alone, over 49,600 families lost or faced the loss of their homes.
How can a community best tackle so pervasive and fundamental an economic crisis? NeighborhoodInfo DC has amassed a toolkit of expert analysis, easy-to-use datasets, and interactive maps designed specifically for community organizations, neighborhood leadership and residents, and government.
Our interactive map highlights the foreclosure hotspots in Prince George’s County and show how foreclosure activity has changed over time. The latest brief analyzing Prince George’s foreclosures shows that different areas of the county experienced the crisis in different ways and to different degrees, concluding that a one-size-fits-all approach is likely not the most effective.
Click to view the interactive map
Ultimately, though, it is the community leaders and elected officials of Prince George’s County who know its needs and issues best and are best placed to design long-term solutions. To that end, our data and interactive maps—updated through second-quarter 2012—can be found on NeighborhoodInfo DC. These current, targeted neighborhood descriptions can be used, for example, in conjunction with a Foreclosure-Response.org resource-targeting framework to determine a neighborhood’s optimal housing policy based on the strength of its housing market and its foreclosure risk.
NeighborhoodInfo DC will continue updating and adding to these tools, starting with another blog tomorrow. It will highlight the latest brief’s special focus on the few nationwide mortgage servicers responsible for the overwhelming majority of foreclosure activity in Prince George’s County.
Filed under: Washington DC 1 Comment »
| Posted: June 13th, 2012
Washington, DC, is a city where the gap between the rich and the poor is as extreme as in parts of the developing world. Just across the Anacostia River from the Capitol and the affluent communities of Capitol Hill, you find block after block of communities suffering all the ills of “concentrated disadvantage”—racial segregation, poverty, high rates of incarceration, and dismal health statistics. The city has one of the best-educated, most affluent populations anywhere—and in the neighborhoods east of the river, the highest rates of HIV infection in the nation.
To help combat these disadvantages in one DC community, we are launching a Housing Opportunities and Services Together (HOST) site in Benning Terrace, a public housing development that is home to more than 200 extremely poor African-American households. Benning has a notorious history of gang- and drug-related violence and, although it is just a short drive from the Capitol, it feels extremely isolated. It sits next to other subsidized and public housing communities and, on one side, a neighborhood of small single-family homes. We spent two days in Benning getting to know the community and service providers and came away with new understanding of the factors that make DC such a hot spot for HIV and other STI’s. Benning is a place where it is difficult to get residents to talk about the risks that affect women, particularly sexual harassment and dating violence—not because these events are so traumatizing, but because they have become so ordinary.
I’ve written about this phenomenon before, but what we learned in Benning Terrace really highlighted what happens when concentrated disadvantage and low collective efficacy create what we’ve labeled a “coercive sexual environment.” The service providers and residents we spoke to talked readily about gang violence and the crisis that high rates of incarceration have created for the men in their community, but it was much harder to get them to talk about the sexualized violence and harassment that primarily affects girls. Once they did, they described a situation that is unimaginable in the more affluent Washington on the other side of the river—a community where it is normal to warn young girls not to ask older guys to buy them treats from the local store because the men will expect sexual favors from them when they get a little older, for girls to know no other way to get positive attention other than to flaunt their sexuality, and for kids to have no idea how to have healthy, non-sexual friendships. In Benning, domestic violence is such a pervasive problem that the group we spoke to couldn’t imagine being able to do anything about it—it was easier for them to think about reducing gang violence than to deal with the bigger, day-to-day problem.
HOST, with its intensive dual-generation service model, is seeking to interrupt this cycle of disadvantage, particularly the mechanisms that place girls at risk. But it is clear that helping Benning become a healthy community will require a partnership of its residents and dedicated service providers who can take on the big challenges that continue to undermine the life chances of every child who lives there.
Filed under: Built Environment, Crime, Quality of Life, Washington DC 4 Comments »
Erwin de Leon
| Posted: April 24th, 2012
The Latino vote gets a great deal of attention during presidential campaigns—and understandably so. Latino voters in key states such as Colorado, Florida, Nevada, and New Mexico may well decide whether President Obama gets to stay through 2016 or Governor Romney takes over come January 2013.
But analysts, experts, strategists, and other talking heads are largely ignoring the Asian vote. Again, understandably so. Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) make up only 4.8 percent of the U.S. population, a mere pittance of 14.7 million people compared with the 50.5 million Latinos. Moreover, AAPIs are not exactly known for their attendance come election time. Their share of the electorate hovers around the 2 percent mark.
In an extremely tight election however, every vote does count and the invisible Asian voter can make as much of a difference as her Latino neighbor. In highly contested Nevada and Virginia, AAPIs make up 7.8 percent and 5.6 percent of the population respectively.
Asian Americans are poised to be a force to be reckoned with in the near future. AAPIs are the fastest growing racial group, multiplying by 45.6 percent in the past decade, far outpacing the total U.S. population, which only grew by 9.7 percent. Their numbers have risen by at least 30 percent in all states, except in Hawaii where they are already the undisputed majority. Politicians should take note that the AAPI population grew by 116 percent in Nevada and by well over 80 percent in Arizona and North Carolina. Projections show that by mid-century, over 9 percent of the population will be of Asian Pacific Island descent.
As Don T. Nakashini, director emeritus of UCLA’s Asian American Studies Center, writes in the 2011-12 National Asian Pacific American Political Almanac: As voters, donors, public policy advocates, and elected officials, “Asian Pacific Americans seek to no longer remain as spectators to the parade of politics, or as vulnerable victims of partisan power struggles. Instead they are striving to become more organized, more visible, and more effective as participants and leaders in order to advance—as well as protect—their individual and group interests, and to contribute to our nation’s democratic processes and institutions.”
It just might be worth both parties’ time to pay Asian voters some heed.
Filed under: People, Washington DC 1 Comment »
| Posted: March 27th, 2012
Bicycle commuting is on the rise, albeit from a low base, according to data from the American Community Survey. In Washington, DC, commuting by bicycle has more than doubled over the past decade from 1.2 percent of commuters to 3.1 percent. Portland, OR, claims the largest share of bicycle commuters in the country—a share that has grown rapidly from 1.8 percent in 2000 to 6.0 percent in 2010.
Among Bicycle Friendly Communities, as defined by the League of American Bicyclists, commuting by bike is more common. The League awards the “Bicycle Friendly” designation to cities that encourage bicycling and provide “safe accommodation for cycling,” in part through public policies. Portland received a platinum award in 2011, while DC earned silver.
So, bike-friendly policies may encourage more cyclists or it may be that cities with lots of cyclists are more likely to enact bike-friendly policies. Either way, the policies that cities enact can facilitate the trend. DC has added bike lanes to many streets. National Capital Bike Share makes bicycles available at strategic points around the city, giving residents easy access to bikes for short trips around town or for commuting to and from work. Similar programs have sprung up in many cities across the country (including Portland) and the world (for example, in Paris, France). And for good reason: bicycle commuting can lead to reduced pollution, less traffic congestion, and improved fitness. It can also be faster than other ways of commuting. The National Bike Summit was held in DC, March 20-23, to bring attention to ways that national policy can support bike-friendly communities.
Over time, traffic in DC may resemble more bike-friendly cities abroad. I remember watching rush hour from my hotel window in Bamako, Mali, some 25 years ago. Streams of bicycles mixed with a smattering of mopeds, a few real motorcycles, and an occasional car or truck—all crossing the river into the capital city as the sun came up. Pedestrians walked along the sides of the bridge. Last year, I saw rush hour in Hanoi, Vietnam. The components were the same but the mix was different. Motorcycles dominated, cars and mopeds came next in about equal numbers, and a few brave bicyclists joined in. This morning’s rush hour in Washington, DC, was composed almost completely of cars, with very few motorized bikes of any sort. But I have been struck by the gradual increase in bicycles over the past couple of years. DC has nowhere near as many bicyclists as Hanoi does, but they are no longer the novelty they were when I moved here in 1981. Rush hour is evolving, if slowly, and that will be good for urban health.
Filed under: Quality of Life, Urban Culture, Washington DC Add a Comment »