Atlanta housing group gets $1 million fed grant

An Atlanta housing group has won a $1 million federal grant to buy and fix up vacant homes for low-income families.

The Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership, a 25-year-old non-profit that is part of a national network, was one of 32 organizations in the nation to receive an award from the Department of the Treasury.

“These funds will enable us to complete more than 100 homes in the next five years, while providing down payment assistance to low-income homebuyers,” said John O’Callaghan, president and chief executive of the group.

ANDP covers a 10-county region that includes the city.

Since the housing crash began in 2007, the group has done the rehab work on 457 single-family homes and 88 apartment units, according to spokesman George Burgan.

Since its founding, the group has purchased, done hands-on work or both on 11,285 homes, affecting 28,212 Atlanta residents, he said.

Among the group's programs is one that focuses on veterans. Among the veterans helpoed into home ownership by the program were U.S. Army vet David Cushing.

An estimated quarter of a million homes were lost to foreclosure in the region during the housing bust, painful recession and the slow recovery that followed.

Nine years after the housing crash began and four years after the market as a whole started a solid rebound, many areas continue to lag. Thousands of homeowners are still “underwater,” that is, they owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth.

The market has continued to improve, moving from the third-worst for underwater mortgages in the first quarter of this year, to fourth-worst.

But even so, 14.6 percent of metro Atlanta homes are underwater, compared to the national average of 12 percent, according to Zillow, the housing research firm.

ANDP says there are zip codes with far worse levels of negative equity: Atlanta’s 30314 and 30310 zip codes have 48 percent and 51 percent of homes underwater. In Clayton County, zip code 30274 and 30297 have similar levels of underwater homes.