By Gloria Dulan-Wilson

I am so proud to announce that we will be bringing NACA - the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America - back to Brooklyn on Saturday, March 20, for two back to back seminars at the Bed-Stuy Multiservices Center, 1958 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, NY

The HOME SAVE SEMINAR from 9:00 AM to 12:00 Noon, for those who are facing foreclosure or who are suffering from toxic mortgages. This workshop is specifically tailored for you to begin the process of providing you with counseling services and having your mortgages completely restructured.

FIRST TIME HOME BUYERS, from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM will be specifically tailored for those who are looking to own their own home, and who are in need of the down payment, closing costs and mortgage to do so.

Participation in the workshop is mandatory to access NACA’s services, so participants are required to be there for the entire length of time. Of course, those who are facing emergency situations with their mortgages should bring their paperwork with them.

It is recommended that you go on line and sign up with NACA in advance, get your unique I.D. number ahead of time. While NACA provides free books, it is advised that you bring a notebook and be prepared to take notes. The concept is to educate you while assisting you, so this is not a passive process, but a participatory process.

Participating in NACA’s training is mandatory. NACA is very strict in their formulation of helping people maintain affordable mortgages - they have to be; otherwise the problem becomes a recurring one. Concomitant with their foreclosure prevention program is their home buyer program, which provides first time home buyers with “the best mortgage,” which includes free down payment and closing costs, as well as a mortgage that is 1% below the current prime rate. The services are for primary residential purchases of 1-4 family homes - you must live in the home you purchase. It is not for investors. NACA's programs are predicated on an informed and prepared consumer. The mandatory two-hour workshop that NACA requires their clients to participate in before they provide any service to them.

NACA’s East Coast Regional Director, Ben Codjoe, and Newark, NJ Directors Kerrey Campbell and Darwin Munroe, in conjunction with the offices of Congresswoman Yvette Clarke’s, Assemblymembers Hakeem Jeffries, Annette Robinson, Nick Perry, Frank Boyland, Jr., Councilmember Al Vann, and the cooperation and support of Wayne Devonish, Executive Director of the Bed-Stuy Multiservices Center, are working to provide a permanent NACA office in Brooklyn, NY.

The last time we presented NACA in Brooklyn, it was a bitter cold Saturday, January 2, 2010 - the day after New Years! 700 Brooklynites and people from other communities braved the intense cold to come to participate in the first phase of a comprehensive foreclosure and mortgage restructuring program. So intent were these families to be part of the program, many actually started arriving at 7:00 AM. The temperature was 16 degrees!!  Fortunately for them, the Boys and Girls High security and custodial staff did not force them to suffer outside, but let them in to wait in the warmth of the auditorium. Fortunately, (hopefully) the week end of March 20 (the day before my birthday, March 21) will be beautiful, sunny and balmy.

It's a prelude to what used to be called the homebuying season. There are many "bargains" to be had now that the prices are beginning to come back down to reality, and the interest rates are low. You can actually purchase a home where the mortgage will be the same or less than your rent. This is the time to gather yourselves, family members, friends, and be there to take proper (notice I said proper) advantage of these opportunities to actually own a home that you can afford, live in and enjoy. NACA also controls your interactions with realtors to ensure you are receiving appropriate service in finding an affordable home, and are not being steered by some realtor into a purchase that is more motivated by their commission check than by your ongoing ability to pay and remain in your home. A prepared consumer is a successful consumer. So come out, learn to purchase a home the "NACA" way, and join the ranks of those who are becoming a force for good in your community, your neighborhood, your borough.

NACA was formed 23 years ago to address the then predatory practices that homebuyers faced in Boston, MA. Bruce Marks, at that time a union leader, began leading union members against banks that were guilty of redlining or charging overly high interest rates for homes in certain neighborhoods. Their success in forcing banks to provide equitable services through guerilla methods has saved thousands of homes, and has provided even more opportunities for low and moderate income hardworking Americans to be home owners. However, their program is neither based on income or credit rating. The premise is to control the cost of the property, to make sure the home is the primary residence and affordable.

Tensions that usually arise amongst individuals and families because of being victimized, are mitigated. The counselors from NACA make them realize that all have been ripped off by an uncaring system; that turning on each other does not resolve the problems.  The inordinate amount of cooperation to remedy toxic mortgages will be done as a community, as neighbors, not as adversaries. Divide and conquer has been the ruin of so many good intentions. NACA brings the cooperation, coordination, muscle, money and empowerment to help Main Streeters regardless of whether it’s saving or purchasing a home.

Of course the goal is to establish a permanent NACA Office in Brooklyn, NY. Currently the closest NACA center is in Newark, New Jersey,  in the Robert Treatt Hotel, 50 Park Place (next door to NJPAC).  It’s been there for nearly 10 years.  Needless to say they are inundated.  They are literally handling two states -- New York and New Jersey.  There are also three NACA Centers in Connecticut, one in Philadelphia, and one in Washington, DC.

For twenty-three years NACA has been in existence and has been in the service of fighting for people who have been ripped off by predatory lenders, red lined by banks, or whose mortgages started off low and ended up totally toxic.  NACA is a HUD approved non-profit organization.

To view the interviews with the participants at Boys and Girls High, NACA or the Javitts December Home Save workshop, log on to ON THE SPOT, www.onthespot.com.  For further detailed information on NACA, log on to www.naca.com. 

As new events are brought to the community, you can also check out this blog, gloria-dulan-Wilson.blogspot.com.  Make sure you spread the word and keep the knowledge going and growing. If you have recommendations or knowledge of other programs that would be beneficial to the Eclectically Black community, please feel free send it to us on the blog. We look forward to hearing from you.

Again, NACA in Brooklyn, Saturday, March 20, 2010 at the Bed-Stuy Multi-Services Center Auditorium, 1958 Fulton Street, between Ralph and Howard. Take the A/C train to Ralph Ave., the B 25 Bus to Ralph and Howard Stop.
See you there.

Stay Blessed &

Gloria Dulan-Wilson

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