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Beneficial State Partners with Self-Help and East Bay Community Foundation to Restore Affordable Home Ownership Opportunities

As part of our efforts to build long-term economic prosperity in the communities we serve, Beneficial State Bank has been partnering with Self-Help, a leading non-profit Community Development Financial Institution like us, and East Bay Community Foundation to purchase or receive homes after foreclosure in order to renovate them and make them available to low-income families for ownership.  Self-Help has designed a transparent process for selling these homes and many potential low-income buyers unable to compete with cash investors are in line waiting their turn. East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation and Community Housing Development Corporation, two leading Bay Area non-profit community service organizations, are providing pre and post-purchase homeowner education. We are all very proud to participate in this program, especially as opportunities for low-income families and individuals to own their own homes have drastically declined in the wake of the financial crisis.  

Recently, inaccurate comments about the program appeared on the internet.  In particular, a group who has been illegally occupying a home now owned by Self-Help mischaracterized the program and its partners in defense of their occupation of the house. Usually Self-Help buys and renovates foreclosed homes with borrowed funds from Beneficial State, supported by a loan loss reserve provided by the Community Foundation. In this case, the house at issue was sold to Self-Help by a bank for $1, making it essentially a donated property and eliminating the need for loan funds from Beneficial State. With no prior status as owners or renters of the home, the protesting occupants moved in after that bank had already foreclosed on the property and now refuse to leave.

Donated properties like this are a critical source of housing for affordable developers like Self-Help to restore and restrict as affordable housing stock. The Program Partners had previously agreed that if a candidate property was occupied by the original owners who were still trying to get loan modifications, we would refrain from purchasing to let those owners pursue their options hopefully to success. This house presents a totally different case. The continued occupation of the house is actually blocking the restoration of the home for ownership by a low-income family or individuals. For the sake of fairness and transparency, we believe Self-Help must market this home, when renovated, to make it available to those who have adhered to a legitimate process for putting up a downpayment, securing financing, and purchasing the home under this community-based program.  We firmly believe in our commitment to help finance projects like this that build economic prosperity for families through responsible home ownership.  

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