Tuesday, October 19, 2021
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AAPIs faces a housing crisis

Maron Meyer
Northwest Asia Weekly

Cecilia Yap (left) and Shirley Xu (right) are two HUD-certified housing consultants recently hired by Parkview Services. (Provided by Qiaofu Service)

According to the supporting agency, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) as renters and homeowners face housing emergencies.

The reasons for the crisis that broke out in the past few years include rising housing prices, increasing scarcity of affordable housing, cultural barriers, and the continuation of the red line, albeit in different forms.

Social service providers predict that the expiration of the federal moratorium on evictions and foreclosures, coupled with the end of certain Covid-related social security benefits, will lead to a “slippery slope” in AAPI’s housing disaster.

“Due to the limited supply of public housing, many of our clients rent houses from individual homeowners,” said Karia Wong, Family Resource Coordinator of the Chinese Information Service Center (CISC). CISC helps immigrants apply for housing. It also provides information on housing information and assistance to senior citizens and families.

“In the past 18 months, the real estate market across the country has soared, including most popular communities for AAPI immigrants. Therefore, more and more AAPI tenants need to find housing because their landlords decide to sell their properties to Get greater profits,” Wong said.

Parkview Services is the state’s largest non-profit organization and one of the three King County agencies authorized by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to help homeowners facing foreclosure. They provide one-on-one assistance and work with lenders to modify their loans.

Loren Shekell, a mortgage default manager, recently hired two Chinese mortgage consultants to respond to the growing demand for AAPI services. Shekell said that since 2018, the demand for Chinese and Korean interpreters has surpassed that of Spanish.

But she found that explaining to the translator the complicated process of foreclosure and how to cooperate with the bank took too much time, and the translation was often still wrong.

Shekell consulted with CISC, who told her that AAPI homeowners have a harder time trusting people who don’t speak their language or come from their culture.

“They are usually more willing to go to their family,” she said.

Therefore, she decided to hire AAPI mortgage consultants and train them, because she understood that it would take about a year to master this job.

Her first job was a Korean mortgage consultant. She was very popular and soon had 65 clients. Now, one-third of her advisory team is AAPI.

Their job is to finalize transactions with banks so that homeowners can keep their residences, usually by extending the repayment period or lowering interest rates. In some cases, they will find relief grants or loans for their clients.

They sometimes work with customers for more than one and a half years to find a solution.

With the expiration of the federal ban on evictions and foreclosures and the end of Covid-related unemployment benefits, Shekell expects that there will be a large number of new cases in addition to the current increase.

The recent series of AAPIs that require housing assistance highlight persistent inequalities that prevent marginalized groups from owning housing in the first place.

Historically, marginalized communities were denied mortgages throughout the 20th century. A particularly tragic example occurred after World War II, when the U.S. Army Act promised to provide mortgages to all veterans, but eventually stolen taxes from veterans of color to subsidize the mortgages of white veterans and help build a white middle class. According to the book, “When Affirmative Action is White”, written by Columbia University professor Ira Katznelson.

According to Zillow’s data, the sharp rise in house prices in the Seattle area has exacerbated this disparity-house prices rose by more than 14% last year.

A Parkview client who requested anonymity recently obtained a rescue loan that allowed her to rescue her apartment from an unexpected special evaluation. She said that she felt she was the target of HOA and forced her to sell.

The apartment is close to a new light rail station, which is driving a substantial increase in housing prices.

Rising housing prices have also forced immigrants to leave the communities they are accustomed to.

“As immigrants tend to stay in communities they are familiar with, it is increasingly difficult for them to stay in communities that have a sense of belonging,” Wong said.

The social service agency said that another potential factor of the crisis is the lack of affordable housing, which makes AAPI customers, especially immigrants, desperate when they need it most.

“The biggest housing challenge facing immigrants is the lack of immediate and affordable housing when people need it most,” Wong said. “The average waiting time for public housing varies from a few years to more than 15 years, depending on the location. In addition, due to the average housing prices in the area, it is almost impossible for our customers to buy a house in their ideal neighborhood.”

Cultural barriers can also cause housing problems.

Shekell said that some of the small Asian companies she met had never done an income statement.

Then, when they find that they are facing bank foreclosure, it is difficult to catch up.

Wong said that simply speaking a different language or not understanding the credit system can make it difficult for immigrants to obtain housing loans.

Because of these barriers, especially the lack of affordable housing, immigrants and other AAPIs often find themselves in desperate situations, such as domestic violence.

“Due to the shortage of public or affordable housing, domestic violence has increased, so we serve many victims who are forced to stay with their family or friends,” Huang said.

For general housing assistance, please contact CISC: 206-624-5633 or [email protected].

If you have trouble paying your mortgage or need guidance from your tolerance plan, please contact a HUD-certified housing consultant at Parkview at 206-542-6644 or visit https://bit.ly/38OevRx.

You can contact Mahlon in the following ways [email protected].

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