Introduction

The Affordable Housing Centers of America’s New Beginning Strategic Plan: 2011–2013 is intended to chart our course for the next three years.

Three core priorities through 2013:
 Protect the American Dream through foreclosure prevention and other home-retention efforts  Empower individuals, families and communities to secure and maintain affordable housing  Create an effective public voice through alliances and partnerships to promote affordable homeownership in America

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hrough these core priorities, we propose to transform ourselves by building on our core strengths, improving our organizational capacities and adapting to changing opportunities and threats to our constituency. We also present our new organizational structure and expanded board of directors that will oversee implementation of the plan. While we are making major changes, we will continue to offer value to the low- and moderate-income people who depend on us and our partners. AHCOA has a long history of advancing housing opportunities for families that traditionally have been off the radar for the housing industry but who share the desire of many Americans to purchase a home and build a better life. We will build on this legacy in the future, as the need that inspired AHCOA’s creation in 1985 remains no less relevant today than it was then. Moving forward, AHCOA faces a changed terrain. Right-wing attacks, the severest recession since the

Great Depression, along with rising unemployment, unprecedented foreclosures and decreasing house values are some of the challenges we face. Thus, new approaches and innovative policies, along with our active engagement are needed. We must also continue to invest in our organizational capacity in order to continue improving. Lastly, we recognize that most of the good work we do goes unrecognized. We are committed to changing our public face by publicizing our successes and responding effectively to critics. We envision a time when every family that wants to own an affordable, safe and decent home will have the means to do so, and we stand ready to do our part in making this vision a reality. As always, our dedicated staff remains the heart and soul of our organization. We deeply appreciate the loyalty and patience they have shown. We also look forward to continuing to work with our lender partners, financial supporters and others who make our work possible.

New Beginning Strategic Plan 2011–2013 / AHCOA 1

Our Mission
Our Mission

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HCOA’s mission is to empower low- and moderate-income individuals, families, and communities to obtain and keep affordable, stable, safe, and decent housing. We accomplish this through public and private partnerships that support homeownership counseling and education, access to finance, housing development, and advocacy.

Our Passion
We are committed to overcoming disparities in housing by taking on the hardest cases, and creating and applying innovative best solutions for our clients. We are dedicated to the low- and moderate-income clients and communities we serve. We lead with initiative, follow through with action, confront the status quo and confirm through partnerships and policy advocacy.

Our Values
We impact our mission on a national scale because we are able to work tirelessly with individuals in the community and passionately represent their interests at the highest levels of finance and government. We carry out this work with a commitment to the following values:  Empathy for the people we serve  Commitment to the highest ethical standards and transparency  Empowerment of the disenfranchised  Respect for clients, staff, and partners  Focus on delivering results for clients and partners  Ensuring a diverse and inclusive organization

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he staff of Affordable Housing Centers of America help people who need it most...I have seen the benefits of this work up close, understand how much they accomplish, and look forward to working with you.

–Henry Cisneros
Executive Chairman, CityView

AHCOA / New Beginning Strategic Plan 2011–2013

Ethics
Ethical Standards and Education: The Foundation of Trust

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ur mission demands that we attain and sustain the highest level of public trust and internal integrity. The staff has developed, and the board has approved, “The Foundation of Trust: Our Code of Conduct” to assist all AHCOA employees, volunteers, and board members in fulfilling our collective ethical and legal obligations. Three overarching principles, Integrity, Service, and Excellence, and the following eight standards help to define our conduct in everything that we do on behalf of AHCOA and its mission:

Honesty:
Act with integrity and honesty when carrying out our duties for AHCOA.

Respect:
Respect others and support and protect diversity.

Commitment:
Demonstrate a commitment to AHCOA and its mission and disclose any conflicts of interest or potential conflicts of interest. We understand that AHCOA is committed to its clients and stakeholders.

Confidentiality:
Protect confidential information.

Transparency:
Be open and candid about our activities and operations.

Leadership and Governance:
Manage and govern carefully and honestly to advance the mission of AHCOA.

Responsibility:
Manage our resources and time responsibly, maximizing our ability to advance the mission of the organization.

Compliance:
Comply with our Code and the rules of AHCOA, as well as federal, state, and local laws. We will seek guidance concerning, and report breaches of, our Code.

New Beginning Strategic Plan 2011–2013 / AHCOA 3

Wanika Ross BoardSource®, a national organization specializing in nonprofit governance issues, conducted a company-wide training on the new Code, and the Code is always uppermost in the daily undertakings of the board and staff. AHCOA also appointed an Ethics Officer, who is available to employees to answer questions about ethics issues and investigate possible violation of AHCOA’s ethical standards.
Call Center Team Lead, Chicago

Chi Huynh
Housing Counselor, Houston

“I love being in a position to help people who remain committed to make things work despite their limited English language skills and challenging experiences in obtaining a loan they can afford.”
If anyone understands the challenges immigrants face in trying to buy or a keep a home it is Chi. She came to the U.S. from Vietnam with her family in 1982. Since December 2006, Chi has been a Housing Counselor in AHCOA’s Houston office. Her language skills in English, Vietnamese and French and her dedication to her work help her guide people through the American financial and credit system.

“Don’t give up. Don’t let your home go without a fight. You are not alone and we will do everything we can to help you stay in your house.”
Wanika Ross works on the front lines of America’s foreclosure crisis. She has been the HELP Call Center Team Lead for AHCOA for two years and counts over ten years of call center customer service experience. Under her leadership, the call center has received up to 14,000 calls a month from people at all stages of the foreclosure process and from all walks of life.

Our mission demands that we attain and sustain the highest level of public trust and internal integrity.
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AHCOA / New Beginning Strategic Plan 2011–2013

“For most of my clients, buying a home is the realization of years of sacrifice to save for a down payment and to establish a solid credit history. They need a guide and an advocate.”

“With three boys of my own, I can understand the need to have an affordable and stable home to raise a family. The thing I like most about working here is helping others stabilize their lives and informing them of additional resources in their communities that they can tap into.”

Core Strategies
Protect the American Dream Through Foreclosure Prevention & Other Home-Retention Efforts
Our goal is to significantly increase the number of
low- and moderate-income families who are able to save their homes through restructuring their mortgages, and keep the equity they have built up through refinancing and loan modifications. We will also enhance our operational controls over the work being done, including better documentation of all case activities, by improved training to maximize staff retention and produce more successful partnerships to fund our efforts.  Ensure Superior Performance for Clients: Improve the success rate in our client work.  Ensure Superior and Well-documented Performance for Partners: Strengthen the documentation of results and work performed, which increases accountability with partners and our ability to maintain and grow funding.  Staff Effectiveness: Raise experience level of counseling and negotiating staff and ensure the full internalization of AHCOA’s code of conduct and ethical standards.  Program Funding: Restore, maintain, and expand funding through government and public sector partnerships to fund these efforts.  Generate Clients: Connect more families in need to our foreclosure prevention services.

Empower Individuals, Families & Communities to Secure & Maintain Affordable Housing
Our goal of developing a new model for achieving
sustainable and affordable homeownership for our clients in the aftermath of the housing crisis includes new mortgage products that support this model. We will ensure that over-restrictive underwriting standards and excessive down-payment and closings costs do not preclude low- and moderate-income people from homeownership. We will maintain our first-time home-buying counseling capacity and will work with partners to develop new, sustainable models of homeownership.  Homebuyer and Homeowner Counseling Capacity: Maintain and grow our staff capacity for home purchase, refinancing and home-equity counseling and education.  Reverse Mortgage Counseling: Explore opportunities to provide reverse-mortgage counseling as a way to promote our vision and expand our counseling expertise to seniors.  Partnerships: Develop new mortgage products and programs with lending partners and others in the housing industry that support and are suited for low- and moderate-income families.  Consumer Protection: Protect consumers from fraud, predatory lending, fair-lending violations, mortgage-lending abuse, and abusive policies and practices.  Product and Program Innovation: Research and develop new services and products that support homeownership sustainability.
New Beginning Strategic Plan 2011–2013 / AHCOA 5

Create an Effective Public Voice Through Alliances & Partnerships to Promote Affordable Homeownership in America
Our goal is to create a powerful public voice, both nationally and locally, capable of advancing the vision of affordable, stable, safe, and decent housing for all. We will pursue this by engaging clients, other housing service providers, advocates for low- and moderate-income people, and private-sector companies engaged in building, selling, and financing housing.  Partnerships: Ensure, maintain, grow, and negotiate new partnerships with housing industry private-sector participants, as well as government, foundations, and community organizations that allow us to pursue our mission.  Alliances: Partner with organizations with low- and moderate-income constituencies, such as labor, faith-based, and advocacy groups, as well as real-estate associations and consumer advocates to reach affected constituents and advocate for public policy.  Housing Champion Cities: Develop a pilot program to grow our local counseling offices into largely self-sufficient, local operations that provide top-rated services and are able to develop local partnerships and initiatives to promote and advance affordable homeownership in their communities.  Research and Advocacy: Utilize the extensive experience and data generated through our counseling and local work to frame, inform, and impact broader housing debate and policies.  Client Engagement: Maintain regular contact with clients and supporters to share organizational success, spread consumer protection and financial literacy messages and capture regular feedback.

Felix Harris
Housing Manager, Los Angeles

“Our strength comes from the relationships we have built in the community.”
When Felix retired in 1990 from the Army, he went to work as a housing counselor for Consumer Credit Counseling Services and was later promoted to Housing Director. He received his certification in Housing Counseling from Howard University. He also has received training in preparing reverse mortgages and the first time home-buying process. In 2002, he observed AHCOA staff teach people about the process of buying a first home and was so impressed he applied for a job.

“The agency is here to help people help themselves. This is a dynamic agency. We do not simply tell people what to do but we get them involved in the process so they understand their role and how their credit affects the rest of their lives. We show people how to get back on their feet—get back on track with their home. We help them deal with the obstacles life has thrown their way now to help them also manage other problems that come their way later.”

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AHCOA / New Beginning Strategic Plan 2011–2013

Program Goals & Expected Results
Protect the American Dream Through Foreclosure Prevention & Other Home-Retention Efforts Results:
 By 2013, 40,000 households provided with foreclosure prevention counseling.  By 2013, 20,000 homeowners with positive resolutions, including loan modifications, thus enabling these homeowners to retain their homes and the equity they have built up.  By 2013, 70 percent of clients would recommend AHCOA to their family and friends for services.  By 2011, develop new foreclosure options and services to help homeowners no longer able to maintain their homes.

Build the Public Voice, Alliances, & Partnerships to Promote Affordable Homeownership in America Results:
 By 2011, cement “team player” reputation by collaborating actively with other organizations, participating in issue-specific and industry coalitions and conferences, and participating actively in collective consumer protection efforts.  By 2011, establish “voice of counseling” reputation by showcasing success and expertise in media publications and building list of media friends.  By 2013, become “go-to experts” on homeownership issues nationwide and respected as a primary source by lawmakers, clients, other nonprofits, service organizations, government, the general public and the media.  Annually, frame the debate on affordable housing and provide leadership to other groups and policy makers by providing relevant studies, position papers and media releases. Do some of these projects in conjunction with other groups and universities.  Every year, identify key issues and methods to bring public and political attention to them.  By 2011, host annual policy/legislative conference.  By 2010, develop pilot for transforming cities into Affordable Housing Champions. By 2011, launch pilot in half of the cities; launch model in the remaining cities by 2013.

Empower Individuals, Families & Communities to Secure & Maintain Affordable Housing Results:
 By 2013, 20,000 households provided with homebuyer education and counseling resulting in 5,000 new homeowners.  $1 billion in new mortgages for low- and moderateincome families by 2013.  Yearly, advocate new safe, affordable mortgage products that protect the consumer and minimize risk to the lender.

New Beginning Strategic Plan 2011–2013 / AHCOA 7

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