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Could a CalWORKS Proposal Work for Pacifico?



By David M. Greenwald

Davis, CA – The city has been looking at ways to revamp and repurpose the Pacifico property for several years now, following community complaints about nuisances on the current affordable housing site as well as the city’s own concerns about Yolo County Housing.

While the city put out a RFQ (request for quotes) to see what interest there would be, they declined to act on any of the proposals.  Yolo County has now approached the city with a proposal to master lease the two vacant buildings for a CalWORKS Housing Support Program.

According to the county’s proposal, the units would be used as short-term—two to three month—housing units for CalWORKS families, “which will eliminate the costly and non-family friendly motels that the County currently utilizes for this population.”

This would enable the county to assist families “in quickly obtaining permanent housing and to provide wrap-around supports to families to foster housing retention.”

According to the county, “The program provides 100% State funding to local counties to assist homeless CalWORKs families with rent, bills, credit repair, home needs and just about anything else to stabilize a family in crisis. Recipients are also provided case management, food, medical, cash, childcare, education, mental health and substance abuse supports through regular CalWORKs (CW) program. Once the family is stable, the program assists them in attaining self-sufficiency.”

Currently the county has similar master lease programs in West Sacramento and Woodland, but does not have a location in Davis.

The county would do a five-year master lease which would enable them to fully utilize both of the vacant buildings.

This would generate “a stable source of revenue for the City to be able to put back into the property as a whole and to provide funding for other affordable housing/homelessness programs in the community.”

Currently, Pacifico is a city-owned affordable housing development.  Two of the four buildings are currently vacant and have been vacant for the past decade. They require rehabilitation prior to occupancy. The remaining two buildings are rented to low income individuals/households.

When the Pacifico property was originally developed in 1999, it was to serve as affordable housing—a cooperative housing project aimed at students, with rents restricted.  Ten years later, finding a lack of interest by UC Davis students and an unsustainable vacancy rate, the property was foreclosed and the city took ownership.

With the city in ownership, Yolo County Housing (YCH) took over the management of the property.  Currently the project has 33 occupied rooms, residents are at the very to extremely low end of the income spectrum and many are at risk for homelessness.

According to staff, “YCH and the City both believe it is in the best interests of the City and the property if the City secure a new property management company. YCH has agreed to continue to manage the property through the end of this fiscal year or until the City can secure a new property management company, whichever is sooner.

“City staff concurs that continuing to utilize YCH for general property management is not in the best interests of any of the stakeholders: it takes YCH away from its core mission, it is expensive for the City, the neighbors have expressed frustration, and the residents are caught in the middle.”

In January, staff sought additional council direction on how to proceed with the search and selection of a qualified property management company for Pacifico.

One of the concerns was the cost of running Pacifico.  The other was that two of the buildings required rehabilitation.  One of the big advantages of this proposal is it actually provides revenue to the city, provides short-term housing for homeless families (one of the original designed uses) and better utilizes current vacant Pacifico Units.

While there have been considerable neighborhood concerns about the current use, staff characterized the response as mixed.

Some had concerns “about the proposal changing the character of the broader neighborhood and frustration about current residents and lack of oversight at Pacifico.”

However, “others were cautiously optimistic that the CalWorks proposal would fill a need and could be beneficial if managed appropriately.”

Neighbors expressed concerns about about traffic and additional people stemming from support services, as well as increased density on the site.

In addition staff writes: “While the majority of their concerns centered on current issues with their own living quarters, they asked whether the site was appropriate for children, particularly given the existing layout of the buildings; whether there would be adequate supervision, service provision, and maintenance with the proposed program; and whether the proposed use would take resources and attention away from addressing needs in the two occupied buildings.”

Staff points out the master lease “would provide a consistent revenue stream for the property, which would not only stabilize the finances of the property but could also be used to assist with maintenance and/or service needs for the other, currently occupied portion of the property, while maintaining very low rents.”

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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Are Sallie Mae Student Loans Federal or Private?



When you hear the name Sallie Mae, you probably think of student loans. There’s a good reason for that; Sallie Mae has a long history, during which time it has provided both federal and private student loans.

However, as of 2014, all of Sallie Mae’s student loans are private, and its federal loans have been sold to another servicer. Here’s what to know if you have a Sallie Mae loan or are considering taking one out.

What is Sallie Mae?

Sallie Mae is a company that currently offers private student loans. But it has taken a few forms over the years.

In 1972, Congress first created the Student Loan Marketing Association (SLMA) as a private, for-profit corporation. Congress gave SLMA, commonly called “Sallie Mae,” the status of a government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) to support the company in its mission to provide stability and liquidity to the student loan market as a warehouse for student loans.

However, in 2004, the structure and purpose of the company began to change. SLMA dissolved in late December of that year, and the SLM Corporation, or “Sallie Mae,” was formed in its place as a fully private-sector company without GSE status.

In 2014, the company underwent another big adjustment when Sallie Mae split to form Navient and Sallie Mae. Navient is a federal student loan servicer that manages existing student loan accounts. Meanwhile, Sallie Mae continues to offer private student loans and other financial products to consumers. If you took out a student loan with Sallie Mae prior to 2014, there’s a chance that it was a federal student loan under the now-defunct Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP).

At present, Sallie Mae owns 1.4 percent of student loans in the United States. In addition to private student loans, the bank also offers credit cards, personal loans and savings accounts to its customers, many of whom are college students.

What is the difference between private and federal student loans?

When you’re seeking financing to pay for college, you’ll have a big choice to make: federal versus private student loans. Both types of loans offer some benefits and drawbacks.

Federal student loans are educational loans that come from the U.S. government. Under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, there are four types of federal student loans available to qualified borrowers.

With federal student loans, you typically do not need a co-signer or even a credit check. The loans also come with numerous benefits, such as the ability to adjust your repayment plan based on your income. You may also be able to pause payments with a forbearance or deferment and perhaps even qualify for some level of student loan forgiveness.

On the negative side, most federal student loans feature borrowing limits, so you might need to find supplemental funding or scholarships if your educational costs exceed federal loan maximums.

Private student loans are educational loans you can access from private lenders, such as banks, credit unions and online lenders. On the plus side, private student loans often feature higher loan amounts than you can access through federal funding. And if you or your co-signer has excellent credit, you may be able to secure a competitive interest rate as well.

As for drawbacks, private student loans don’t offer the valuable benefits that federal student borrowers can enjoy. You may also face higher interest rates or have a harder time qualifying for financing if you have bad credit.

Are Sallie Mae loans better than federal student loans?

In general, federal loans are the best first choice for student borrowers. Federal student loans offer numerous benefits that private loans do not. You’ll generally want to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and review federal funding options before applying for any type of private student loan — Sallie Mae loans included.

However, private student loans, like those offered by Sallie Mae, do have their place. In some cases, federal student aid, grants, scholarships, work-study programs and savings might not be enough to cover educational expenses. In these situations, private student loans may provide you with another way to pay for college.

If you do need to take out private student loans, Sallie Mae is a lender worth considering. It offers loans for a variety of needs, including undergrad, MBA school, medical school, dental school and law school. Its loans also feature 100 percent coverage, so you can find funding for all of your certified school expenses.

With that said, it’s always best to compare a few lenders before committing. All lenders evaluate income and credit score differently, so it’s possible that another lender could give you lower interest rates or more favorable terms.

The bottom line

Sallie Mae may be a good choice if you’re in the market for private student loans and other financial products. Just be sure to do your research upfront, as you should before you take out any form of financing. Comparing multiple offers always gives you the best chance of saving money.

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Tips to do some fall cleaning on your finances



Wealth manager, Harry Abrahamsen, has five simple ways to stay on top of the big financial picture.

PORTLAND, Maine — Keeping track of our financial stability is something we can all do, whether we have IRAs or 401ks or just a checking account. Harry J. Abrahamsen is the Founder of Abrahamsen Financial Group. He works with clients to create and grow their own wealth. Abrahamsen shares five financial tips, starting with knowing what you have. 

1. Analyze Your Finances Quarterly or Biannually

You want to make sure that your long-term strategy is congruent with your short-term strategy. If the short-term is not working out, you may need to adjust what you are doing to make sure your outcome produces the desired results you are looking to accomplish. It is just like setting sail on a voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. You know where you want to go and plot your course, but there are many factors that need to be considered to actually get you across and across safely. Your finances behave the exact same way. Check your current situation and make sure you are taking into consideration all of the various wealth-eroding factors that can take you completely off course.

With interest rates very low, now might be a good time to consider refinancing student loans or mortgages, or consolidating credit card debt. However, do so only if you need to or if you can create a positive cash flow. To ensure that you are saving the most by doing so, you must look at current payments, excluding taxes and insurance costs. This way you can do an apples-to-apples comparison.

The most important things to look for when reviewing your credit report is accuracy. Make sure the reporting agencies are reporting things actuary. If it doesn’t appear to be reporting correct and accurate information, you should consult with a reputable credit repair company to help you fix the incorrect information.

4. Savings and Retirement Accounts

The most important thing to consider when reviewing your savings and retirement accounts is to make sure the strategies match your short-term and long-term investment objectives. All too often people end up making decisions one at a time, at different times in their lives, with different people, under different circumstances. Having a sound strategy in place will allow you to view your finances with a macro-economic lens vs a micro-economic view. Stay the course and adjust accordingly from a risk and tax standpoint.

RELATED: Financial lessons learned through the pandemic

A great tip for lowering utility bills or car insurance premiums: Simply ask! There may be things you are not aware of that could save you hundreds of dollars every month. You just need to call all of the companies that you do business with to find out about cost-cutting strategies. 

RELATED: Overcome your fear of finances

To learn more about Abrahamsen Financial, click here

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How to Get a Loan Even with Bad Credit



Sana pwedeng mabura ang bad credit history as quickly and easily as paying off your utility bills, ‘no? Unfortunately, it takes time. And bago mo pa maayos ang bad credit mo, more often than not, kailangan mo na namang mag-avail ng panibagong loan. 

Good thing you can still get a loan even with bad credit, kahit na medyo limited ang options. How do you get a loan if you have bad credit? Alamin sa short guide na ito. 

For more finance tips, visit Moneymax.



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