Philanthropic Entity Will Assist ARM Holders In Distress

Created to assist Americans who did not benefit from the "unprecedented boom in homeownership and home values in recent years," the First American Homeownership Foundation said this year it will focus on the needs of homeowners who are about to face payment increases in their adjustable-rate mortgage loans.

A detailed FAHF foreclosure prevention assistance plan will be unveiled in May.

Going forward, FAHF will help the real estate industry "address an anticipated foreclosure crisis stemming from adjustable-rate mortgage resets that will dramatically increase the monthly payments of the tens of thousands of lower-income homeowners in the next 18 months."

FAHF's stated goal is to help lower-income families for whom the ARM changes are expected to be particularly challenging for in 2007 and 2008. The current effort follows its 2006 campaign dedicated to assisting minority, new immigrant and lower-income families achieve homeownership.

FAHF invests in projects related to real estate financial literacy, homebuyer education, affordable housing creation and neighborhood revitalization through national grants to nonprofits and partnerships with various community-focused organizations including Los Angeles-based Operation HOPE Inc., Habitat for Humanity and Neighborhood Housing Services of America. It was established in 2003 to serve as a philanthropic entity by the First American Corp., which has been in operation since 1889.

"In the past, much of our philanthropy has been decentralized and fragmented, diluting our effectiveness in bringing lasting, positive change to our communities," said FAHF chairman Jo Etta Bandy. "Establishing the First American Homeownership Foundation has focused and streamlined our giving and is producing tangible results."

In 2006, FAHF's real estate financial literacy program assisted over 10,000 individuals get ready for homeownership, in addition to multicultural/diversity training for thousands of real estate professionals. Through a mix of innovative mortgage lending programs and subsidized home construction activity, over 750 low- to moderate-income families became homeowners. The neighborhood revitalization program supported Operation HOPE's "Project Restore Hope" program, which helped tens of thousands of Hurricane Katrina and Rita victims.

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