Housing experts are taking interest in a foreclosure-prevention initiative in Boston that they believe could serve as a national model for curtailing neighborhood blight.
Stabilizing Urban Neighborhoods (SUN), administered by the nonprofit Boston Community Capital (BCC), purchases homes that are in or near foreclosure and rents or sells them back to the former owners at a price that is in line with current market value. Buybacks like these are essentially principal reductions that create smaller mortgages for distressed homeowners, who typically owe more on their home loan than the property is worth.
SUN, which launched in 2010, has helped about 500 families in Massachusetts, Maryland, and Rhode Island retain their homes. Just as impressive, it has done so with minimal defaults. The program is funded with money borrowed from individual contributors and foundations and, in the event that a beneficiary is able to sell at a profit, that profit must be shared with with SUN. BCC then reinvests those funds in projects that benefit the community.