Innovative new program is aimed at helping low-income seniors pay off delinquent property taxes and receive free financial counseling to stabilize their finances.
CLEVELAND, OH – Empowering and Strengthening Ohio’s People (“ESOP”) is excited to announce a Commitment to Action with the Clinton Global Initiative that will provide much needed assistance for homeowners aged 55 and older facing possible property tax foreclosure.
The Senior Tax Delinquency Loan Program is a partnership between ESOP, Third Federal Savings and Loan and Faith Community United Credit Union that will offer an affordable loan to older homeowners who have fallen behind on their property taxes.These loans should preclude the County from selling these tax liens to ruthless debt collectors allowing early risk senior homeowners to avoid exorbitant payday lenders and high interest credit cards.
The Third Federal Savings and Loan is providing $200,000 of working capital to fund the loans in this pilot program and Faith Community United Credit Union will service the loans.ESOP will provide outreach, underwriting and mandatory financial counseling to prospective borrowers, and will also offer other free financial services to help address the problems that caused the delinquency.
Since the start of the housing crisis ESOP has counseled more than 25,000 people facing mortgage foreclosure across Ohio.“In Cuyahoga County more than 40 percent of the people who have come to us for help saving their homes are age 55 or older,” said Roslyn Quarto, Executive Director of ESOP. “There is little help available for seniors on limited incomes once they fall behind on their property taxes.It’s really a shame to see someone who has lived, worked and raised a family in their home for decades in danger of losing it all because of only $2000 in back property taxes.”
“We’re pleased to provide not just the working capital to get the senior loan program started, but also to be a part of the social capital behind the program,” said Maria Thompson, manager of Third Federal’s Community Development Services. “So we consider our investment in the loan program as an investment in the community that we’re so much a part of.”
“Faith Community United Credit Union is a full-service Community Development Credit Union serving all of Cuyahoga County.For over 60 years we have helped many residents achieve their financial goals, one being home ownership,” said Jacqueline Moore, Acting CEO of Faith Community.“Programs such as this support our motto of “people helping people” we look forward to being the loan servicers and will offer additional financial services to participants as needed.”
The loan program was developed as part of ESOP’s participation in the Clinton Global Initiative’s Working Group on Financial Opportunity and was officially announced at the CGI annual conference in Denver, CO. The Working Group is tasked with developing new opportunities that strengthen the consumer marketplace with smart products and services, while enabling Americans to make better financial decisions. The senior loan program pairs a smart and affordable loan product with integrated financial services to help seniors age in place with a more stable financial future.
This year ESOP launched the Senior Financial Empowerment Initiative in order to increase the financial stability of Ohio’s growing lower income senior population. ESOP will help this expanding group of older homeowners with various financial services including foreclosure prevention assistance, one-on-one budget and financial counseling, credit repair services, free year-round income tax preparation services, public forums to educate seniors on how to avoid financial exploitation and benefits check-ups through our Ohio Benefit Bank site.
Ohio was one of the states hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis, largely because of subprime predatory lenders who often preyed on seniors.“Many of them just don’t have anywhere to turn for this type of financial help,” said Quarto of ESOP’s older clients. “That’s why we wanted to start this program. In a lot of our communities it’s the seniors, lifelong residents, who are holding devastated neighborhoods together.We want to help them age in place as long as it’s safe and affordable and make sure they’re getting all the financial services needed to make that possible.”
About the Clinton Global Initiative America
The Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America), a program of the Clinton Global Initiative, addresses economic recovery in the United States. Established in June 2011 by President Bill Clinton, CGI America brings together leaders in business, government, and civil society to generate and implement commitments to create jobs, stimulate economic growth, foster innovation, and support workforce development in the United States. Since its first meeting, CGI America participants have made over 300 commitments valued at more than $15 billion when fully funded and implemented. To learn more, visit cgiamerica.org.
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders year-round and at its Annual Meeting to create and implement solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI also convenes CGI University, which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their communities and around the world. To date, members of the CGI community have made more than 2,800 Commitments to Action, which are already improving the lives of more than 430 million people in over 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at $103 billion. For more information, visit clintonglobalinitiative.org and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at facebook.com/clintonglobalinitiative.
ESOP is a HUD-approved foreclosure prevention counseling agency. We have four offices across Ohio to help urban, suburban and rural homeowners. ESOP‘s mission is to foster the economic empowerment of disenfranchised communities through outreach, education and advocacy.