PHILADELPHIA, April 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Now 23 years old, the Delaware Valley Mortgage Plan continues its strong tradition of making home ownership possible for thousands of low- and moderate-income families. Since its inception in 1975, the Plan has made $700 million available in home mortgages to more than 26,000 families throughout the region. Seventy-five percent of these mortgage funds were invested during the 1990s. In 1997, Plan lenders made 1,421 home mortgages, totaling $62 million, in the counties of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia. For the second year in a row, 80 percent of the Philadelphia loans went to minority borrowers. Sixty-five percent of Plan mortgages went to low-income families (incomes of less than $25,650) -- an all-time high for the Plan. "This is the real untold story," says Mary Frances Davis, executive director, Delaware Valley Mortgage Plan. "Not all lenders have so strong a commitment as Plan lenders do to reach deep into the eligible income range and help low-income families." The Plan's overall approval rate for home mortgages has remained high and consistent, at around 85 percent over the past four years. Ray Desiderio, chair of the Plan and senior vice-president, PNC Bank, reports that the Plan continues to make an impact in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. In Philadelphia, the average sale price of Plan-financed homes is $37,700, compared to $49,900 for the average of all Philadelphia home sales. In the counties, where housing prices are higher, the average sales price is $79,400 for Plan-financed homes, compared to $138,000 for the average of all county home sales. A total of 231 counselors from 58 community-based organizations throughout and beyond the region have now completed the Plan's nine-day housing counseling training program, which prepares low- and moderate-income first- time home buyers for home ownership. "The Plan has become a model for breaking down barriers to home ownership by working with community-based organizations," says Lisa Gaffney, chair of the Plan's advisory committee and executive director, Chester Community Improvement Project. Mechelle Sabb, 26, recently moved herself and her two children, ages 8 and 5, into a Plan-financed home after receiving home ownership counseling from the Allegheny West Foundation. Located in North Philadelphia, Sabb's two-story, two-bedroom home, complete with a backyard deck, costs her $173.00 per month less than she previously paid to rent. "I can now afford to go to school. In one year, I will graduate from Community College of Philadelphia with a degree in office administration. In 10 years, I will own my own home." Sabb is eager to share her story with others: "All you working moms, take notice! If I can own a home, so can you. It just takes hard work and planning." The Delaware Valley Mortgage Plan is a 23-year-old program by the major Philadelphia financial institutions to invest in the region's neighborhoods. Six banks participate in the Plan: Beneficial Savings, Commerce, CoreStates, First Union, Mellon PSFS, and PNC Bank. The Plan is a program of the Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition, a nonprofit organization that brings together business and community leaders to solve urban problems.
SOURCE Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition